A Reckoning in the Back Country by Terry Shames is the seventh book in the “Samuel Craddock” mystery. Publisher: Seventh Street Books, coming January 9, 2018

Acting Police Chief Samuel Craddock investigates the murder of a visiting physician, whose mangled body is found in the woods.

When Lewis Wilkins, a physician with a vacation home in Jarrett Creek, is attacked by vicious dogs, and several pet dogs in the area around Jarrett Creek disappear, Police Chief Samuel Craddock suspects that a dog fighting ring is operating in his territory. He has to tread carefully in his investigation, since lawmen who meddle in dog fighting put their lives at risk. The investigation is hampered because Wilkins is not a local.

Craddock’s focus on the investigation is thrown off by the appearance of a new woman in his life, as well as his accidental acquisition of a puppy.

Digging deeper, Craddock discovers that the public face Wilkins presented was at odds with his private actions. A terrible mistake led to his disgrace as a physician, and far from being a stranger, he has ongoing acquaintances with a number of county residents who play fast and loose with the law.

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This well-written drama consumed me with a narrative that placed me in the middle of all the action that didn’t stop until the last page was read. The author knows how to tell a story that made me look at all aspects as the dialogue, the interaction between the various characters and the background setting played their part. The mystery was staged to perfection keeping me intrigued by all possibilities to who could have done the crime. Looking at the clues had me pinpointing signs that would lead to the killer’s identity. I did enjoy the little twists and turns interspersed within the scenes that added to my reading pleasure.

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FTC Full Disclosure – I received a digital ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.

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