by Charlotte Hughes

December 2004 Reissue
ISBN: 0-380-78454-8
Reviewer Graphic Button Avon Books
Mass Market Paperback

Meg Gentry decides to return to her hometown after being a crime reporter on a big city newspaper. The break-up of her marriage helped her make the decision, especially when she discovered her husband was gay.

Meg is far from your average heroine. She is a tough no-nonsense gal, who swears like a trooper and chain-smokes.

But I am sure, like me, the readers will love her.

This is a very suspenseful novel set amid a town hiding a dark secret behind a religious sect. Meg gets curious, and after getting a job on the local paper, wants to find out more.

Her love interest is in the hunky shape of former lifeguard, Clay. The object of her girlish dreams. He can turn any woman’s head and Meg is far from immune to his considerable charms.

Two plotlines are featured in the story and it is very difficult to guess the outcome as the author has cleverly scattered a few red herrings here and there and they all add excitement to the plot.

The pace is fast but Charlotte Hughes manages to add some good lighthearted touches to ease the tenseness of the plot.

Wonderful secondary characters abound throughout the novel. Each one is well thought out and has a good purpose in the story. Amy, Meg’s mother, especially amused me. She was a wonderful contrast to the darker characters, like the Reverend and Temple Beechum who was a right swine!

Meg ran a few risks in the story. The readers can expect parts of this book to read like a thriller, so expect some blood and gore. Also, if you have a fear of snakes, be warned there are many of them in the book; all tied into the religious sect.

I can recommend Valley of the Shadow very highly, a really first-class read.

Reviewed in November 2004 by Mary.

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