Book Talk: Another Kay Sharp thriller, ‘The Angel Creek Girls’
“‘Don’t answer it, Mom,’ (Julie) whispered, her voice shaky.” “Cheryl gave the idea a moment’s thought. Whoever was at the door had already seen them through the window… Cheryl made up her mind. She was going to face whomever it was like she’d done before, with courage and a willingness to do whatever it took to protect her family, and she’d be fine.”
Julie and Cheryl are at the heart of Leslie Wolfe’s most recent Detective Kay Sharp thriller, “The Angel Creek Girls,” (2021, 330 pages in paperback). Having read, loved, and reviewed author Leslie Wolfe’s previous novels: “The Girl from Silent Lake” (Nov. 17, 2021) and “Beneath Blackwater River” (Jan. 26, 2022), I could hardly wait for this book to arrive on my doorstep.
A skillful writer, Wolfe has written this fast-paced mystery from three points of view: Detective Kay Sharp, the killer, and sixteen-year-old Julie, who has been kidnapped. It is Kay’s narrative, however, that dominates. She’s a former FBI agent with a background in psychology and hypnosis, and those skills are needed to glean information from survivors: three-year-old Erin and eight-year-old Heather, who seems to be borderline catatonic.
Wolfe’s complex plot has Kay trying to deal with keeping the kids out of the hands of Child Protective Services, solving the murder of their mother, and recovering their big sister, Julie. Meanwhile, Kay’s favorite sometime-partner Detective Elliot Young is consumed with finding the identity of a John Doe. But they have the opportunity of working together when it is discovered that their cases are related.
Both detectives are frustrated by a horrific storm that has settled on Mt. Chester, making them miserable and feeding the killer’s delusions. He is torn between giving the kidnapped girl to “Mother,” presumably Mother Nature, as a sacrifice and keeping her for his own gratification.
“Dear Mother,” he pleads. “Please show your lost child mercy and grace, and grant him one last wish….” As lightning flashes and thunder crashes, he gets the message that Mother is displeased with his request. He concedes, “Please forgive me, Mother, for having dared to ask. She is yours and yours alone.”
Kay knows that the first 24 hours are critical in solving child abduction cases, but the sheriff is a stickler for procedure and is pressing her to turn the children over to state authorities. However, she’s got the three-year-old drawing pictures of “the monster,” and she’s successfully using hypnosis to coax the eight-year-old out of silence and into contributing useful information. She has to take the process slowly, but Julie’s been missing for several days.
Even if she can extract enough clues, can she get to Julie in time? Will the killer’s promise to “Mother” be fulfilled? Has Kay’s pleasant hometown of Mt. Chester been harboring a serial killer for decades?
In Wolfe’s Kay Sharp series, we get to follow not only story lines but also the thought processes of the major characters. I believe that this is one of the strongest points of her writing, and I recommend her books without reservation.
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Jim Glynn may be contacted at email@example.com.