Thursday, August 3, 2017
Backlund, J.R. 2017. Among the Dead. Crooked Lane Books. ISBN 978-1683312734. $26.99 USD.
J.R. Backund's debut novel, Among the Dead, has all the ingredients of a good mystery/thriller: a protagonist with a few "issues," realistic secondary characters, good dialogue, a little romance and an interesting murder case, without a lot of clues. The author does does a good job of creating a charming southern setting, with a seemingly unsolvable initial crime.
Rachel Carver, the main character, has quit her job as an investigator with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations over a case that haunts her, but needs a distraction. She agrees to help out a former colleague when the small town where he lives experiences its first murder in many years. The Sheriff's department is woefully unequipped to handle the crime, and the state is slow in sending resources. Rachel relies on her excellent training to organize the staff in order to proceed with the investigation. Before long, they realize they have a serial killer on their hands. The novel has a slower pace, but it's intriguing enough to keep the reader engaged. The resolution of the mystery is satisfying and readers won't necessarily figure out the motivation of the killer(s) until close to the end. I enjoyed this debut and would recommend it to my mystery customers. Hopefully, there will be more books forthcoming in this series!