Broken Places by Sandra Parshall is the third book in the “Rachel Goddard” mystery series. Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press, March 2010

Summer is deadly in the mountain community of Mason County, Virginia. Deputy Sheriff Tom Bridger and veterinarian Rachel Goddard are caught in a maelstrom of lies that stretch far into the past and suspicions that threaten the future.

Cam and Meredith Taylor, who run Mason County’s failing newspaper, are murdered within hours of one another. Rachel heard—but didn’t see—Cam’s murder. The Taylors came to Mason County as volunteers in the 1960s War on Poverty and stayed on, making loyal friends and bitter enemies. By rescuing the newspaper, they gained the wary respect of the local establishment. But when it started going under, Cam proved he would go to any lengths—including blackmail—to save it.

The victims’ daughter is Tom’s former girlfriend, Lindsay. To make matters worse, the prime suspect is cartoonist Ben Hern, the son of another 1960’s activist with dubious ties to the victims and a childhood friend of Rachel’s. Discovery of a disturbing secret leaves Rachel wondering what else her old friend is hiding.

This was the best book yet in this series. I enjoyed the mystery with all the subplots of an ex-girlfriend arriving to put a wedge between Rachel and Tom’s blossoming relationship. My rating: 4.5 stars

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