Come The Shadows by Wendy L. Young
Reviewed By Nike Chillemi
Officer Will Harmon is called out to a homicide at the abandoned bread factory in Campbell Creek, NC. When he gets to the scene (with Rookie cop Ricky Rogers along) he’s immediately challenged by Officer Michael Peterson, a very territorial colleague.
When the sheriff and mayor declare the death to be accidental one day before the medical examiner is due to make her report, Will knows something smells bad. The ME is Will’s sister and she tells him she’s being pressured to declare the death inconclusive, but she’s sure it’s murder due to high levels of cyanide in the tissue. She caves in to the pressure to save her job and the case is officially closed.
I liked the Will Harmon character from the get go. He’s afraid there might be corruption within the police department and the mayor’s office and he’s determined to fight to preserve the way of life of his town and to protect his family. However, he’s got one little problem. Police Chief David Lanier is his wife’s brother. He is investigating family, albeit extended family. However, his easygoing personality gets him over the rough patches, even as he’s deep into a semi-covert operation. He’s got a great sense of humor, and a strange attraction to pie. The guy loves to eat his pie.
Someone is paying exorbitant sums of money to buy resident’s homes near the lake in town. Then acreage that’s been torched is deemed definite arson. About this time, the DNA evidence on the body found in the old bread factory is analyzed revealing the name of the murder victim.
Meanwhile, Will’s wife Laura is against all the development planned for the town. She feels it will destroy the small town feeling of Campbell Creek. She rallies a group of local citizens to protest what she sees as the sneaky buying up of homes and property. She organizes a sit in at the mayor’s office, which doesn’t make her brother the sheriff too happy. The character of Laura intrigues me. She’s got a lot of energy and drive. She sees that things don’t add up in this land deal and wants to know why. She’s got an investigative mind and she’s not afraid to pursue an issue. My only problem with Laura is her constant interference in Will’s job. Once resulting in him getting a reprimand and desk duty handling tons of paperwork. All to the delight of Officer Michael Peterson. But that’s just one tiny issue. The Laura character is wonderful.
Laura arranges to meet a woman reporter who has dirt on the land development group. Only the reporter is killed before Laura can get the information. Then Laura gets a bomb threat.
About that time, Will discovers the mayor and his wife murdered in their home. It looks as if they were packing up quickly to get out of town but were killed before they could make their escape. Then things really start getting dicey. Chased by killers, Will and Laura make a run to Washington, D.C. to find hard evidence of corruption and murder.
The author has put together a carefully crafted story of intrigue, greed, and corruption in a small town and also in higher places. Inspirational themes are woven throughout the story within the lives of the characters. I didn’t find any author preaching, which is the way I prefer it. This is the first installment of the Campbell Creek series, which promises to be a winner.