Following Every Last Secret and Every Broken Trust Chief of Campus Police Skeet Bannion is back in Every Hidden Fear. Secrets have a way of coming back home to roost and that certainly is the case with the return of Ash Mowbray.
Back in the day he had been what would now be termed “a troubled teen.” Unfortunately for many of the residents of Brewster, Missouri the return of Ash means huge problems. Secrets long thought buried in the best of families as well as the worst are now vulnerable to the light of day as Ash has come back home seeking payback for so many slights and flat out wrongs. There is a scale to everything, but for Ash nearly everyone is guilty of horrendous crimes. On a daily, if not minute by minute basis, while publicly telling secrets he is also unleashing hatred and scorn on everyone in his wake.
That appalling public behavior wasn’t the plan wealthy investor Walter Lynch had in mind when he teamed up with Ash. The plan was to get city approval to build a new shopping mall in the a wealthy area of Brewster. If the mall is actually built it will probably destroy the small businesses on the town square. It is certainly understandable why some, faced with the almost sure death of a business they have worked their entire life building, would take the threat of a new mall very personally.
The battle lines have been drawn hard between those who want the mall and the potential economic growth it could bring and those who believe it will ruin the quality of life in this small university town located twelve miles from Kansas City. The last thing those opposing the new development want is for Brewster to become nothing more than another bedroom community for their monolithic neighbor. Walker Lynch and his hired gun Terry Heldrich are still an unwelcome presence as far as Skeet is concerned. The behavior of Ash who has escalated the anger on both sides by the second with his insults and poisonous comments has made the battle even more personal for many.
Ash has good reason for at least some of his anger. He came from a rough upbringing and knows very well how far his parents had to go to survive. He also knows how some of the women in town sought him out more for the bedroom possibilities than for his skills on the football field or mowing their yard when he was a teen in high school. Everywhere he goes Ash is vocal about his allegations concerning the past conduct of many in the town while also making sure that everyone knows his intent, in the name of progress, is to tear down the old power structure.
With Ash around nothing is safe and nothing is sacred. That means many locals have multiple good reasons to want Ash dead and not just the parents of a teenager named Noah whom Ash has loudly and very publicly proclaimed is his son much to the shock of Chelsea and her husband Norman. Before they can really deal with their shock and the implications to their son and their family, Ash is found dead on a nearby golf course and Noah is the primary suspect. For many, he is the only suspect as their minds are made up that he did it even if he swears he didn’t.
Thanks to the wisdom of her Cherokee grandmother and her own grudging unwillingness to leave a case outside of her jurisdiction alone, Skeet Bannion starts digging into what really happened the night Ash was murdered. Once she starts, she soon learns far more than she ever wanted to about many of the folks involved while hunting for a very clever killer.
Cherokee heritage and the often very painful legacy of secrets have long been hallmarks of this excellent series. They are present in great detail here in this complex and multilayered novel. Third in a series that must be read in order due to ongoing character and secondary storyline development, Every Hidden Fear by Linda Rodriguez is deeply nuanced and rich in details as it moves along steadily for nearly 300 pages. Continued character development caused by the passage of time and previous events is always present in this book and series as is the meaning of family in all its many forms. The mystery itself is complex with many facets and numerous suspects with several of them among Skeet’s friends. Every Hidden Fear is another very good read from an award winning author and a book well worth your time.
Every Hidden Fear: A Skeet Bannion Mystery
Minotaur Books (A Thomas Dunne Book)
May 6, 2014
Hardback (also available as an e-book)
Material supplied by the author in exchange for my objective review.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2014