Anne Frasier is the pen name of Theresa Weir, widely known for her excellent memoir, The Orchard. Her fiction stands out, in my opinion, for her deep and compassionate understanding of physic pain.
This is the fourth book in a detective series featuring homicide detectives Elise Sandburg and David Gould. It is set in Savannah, and is richly atmospheric.
As the story begins, Elise and David are called back to Savannah from Chicago; they had both been fired after their last case. The Savannah medical examiner, John Casper, asked them to come back unofficially and help him with a new case. They agree because John is also a personal friend: “John was the good kind of family. The kind that wasn’t blood.”
Bodies of children have been found in a house slated for demolition. The house was once occupied by a murderer, Frank Remy, who was put in prison by Elise’s father Jackson Sweet. Remy reputedly died there 36 years before. Making the case more disturbing, the m.o. is similar to that of a serial killer terrorizing Florida.
Returning to Savannah, especially for a case involving dead children, brings up all sorts of ghosts for Elise and David.
David lost his own child to murder, and Elise had been captured and tortured in Savannah by a psychopath named Atticus Tremain who was never caught. The case pushes emotional buttons for both of them.
Meanwhile, the police decide to exhume Remy’s body to see if the DNA matches any of the DNA on the bodies inside the wall, and then all hell breaks loose. Not only Elise and David but everyone they love is in danger.
Discussion: As in previous books, the author closely captures the feelings of people who are dealing with loss and/or agonizing memories. She shows how hurt, loneliness, and shame can translate into a pain that is physical.
Evaluation: The colorful setting of Savannah; the appealing but troubled protagonists and the chemistry between them; and the suspense that builds to a fever pitch make a winning combination. I definitely look forward to more volumes in this series.
Published by Thomas & Mercer, 2017