Disturbing the Dead by Sandra Parshall is the second book in the “Rachel Goddard” mystery series. Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press, March 2007

Tom Bridger, who is half Melungeon, thought he had escaped his mountain community’s lingering prejudice against the mixed-race group when he left to join the Richmond, Virginia Police Department. Tom was moving up the detective ranks when a family tragedy brought him back home and moved him into his father’s job as chief deputy in the Mason County Sheriff’s Department.

Now the bones of a Melungeon woman who disappeared ten years ago have surfaced on a remote mountaintop, and all evidence points to murder. Violence escalates as the victim’s poor family and the wealthy white family she married into scramble to protect their secrets from Tom’s scrutiny. As he probes into his father’s investigation of the case, he finds his father was not the man he idolized.

Tom is falling in love with veterinarian Rachel Goddard, who is struggling to start a new life in a place that holds no memories for her. She puts herself in danger when she befriends the dead Melungeon woman’s teenage niece, Holly. As a child, the girl witnessed something that could implicate her aunt’s killer, but she is too terrified to tell anyone what she knows.

While Rachel is determined to keep Holly safe and help her piece together past events, the guilty are equally determined to silence the girl—and Rachel too, if necessary.

Will this murder investigation be Tom’s and Rachel’s undoing or will it free them to look to the future?

This was a very good read. I enjoyed trying to solve the mysteries of the two murders and looking at the budding relationship between Rachel and Tom. Look forward to reading the next book in the series. My rating: 4 stars

*new-to-me author

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