Small-Town Suspense Delivers Big Thrills
by Karen Green
On the surface, small towns seem bucolic: picture-perfect snapshots of quaint, idealized living. Everybody knows everybody else, and there are often water wheels and live oaks picketing Main Street, where people gather to shop, visit and congratulate each other on living in such an exceptional place.
Easily romanticized though they may be, for those who dwell there—and those who write about those who dwell there—the post-card-perfect surfaces almost always conceal a more shadowy side of small-town living. Family feuds often run as deep as the roots connecting the people to their land, and though it’s impossible to remain anonymous in a small town, small towns themselves are often anonymous enough that they become a place to harbor someone running from—or to—dangerous circumstances.
It is the stories that lurk in the shadows that are, of course, the most interesting, and in them, the town becomes almost another main character, shaping and manipulating the course of the narrative.
Are you ready to uncover the secrets that a small town keeps?
Lancaster County Reckoning by Kit Wilkinson
The small town: Lancaster, Pennsylvania Dutch country
The conflict: Darcy Simmons thought her father was dead, so when she discovers he has been living in an Amish community under the witness protection plan, she sets out to meet him again. But someone else got to Jesse Troyer first and left him beaten and in a coma. With the help of a neighbour, Thomas Nolt, Darcy must try to connect the past and the present before it is too late to help her estranged father.
King of the Castle by Heather Graham
The small town: Shallywae, Ireland
The conflict: Kit McHennesy wants to know the truth about her husband’s death, but it means traveling back to the small town in Ireland where he died—and where Kit once spent a passionate night with Justin O’Niall, a powerful landowner and architect who may hold the key to the truth of the past.
Echo of Danger by Marta Perry
The small town: Echo Falls, Pennsylvania Dutch country
The conflict: Deirdre Morris must keep her powerful father-in-law from getting custody of her young son. She seems to have found an ally in attorney Jase Glassman, but a murder in their small town has the capability to knock them all from their precarious perches.
The Texan’s Return by Karen Whiddon
The small town: Legacy, Texas
The conflict: Mac Morrison knows his father did not commit the murder he was accused of and wants to clear his name before his father dies. But he’ll need the help of an old friend, Hailey Green, to do it. Once connected through love, then through tragedy, Mac and Hailey will have to sift through years of anger and forgiveness to find the real killer—who may be at work once again.
Mistaken Identity (Mission: Rescue) by Shirlee McCoy
The small town: Whisper, Maine
The conflict: Just as he arrives home after attending a funeral, prosthetic-maker Mason Gaines hears gunshots and a woman’s screams. Trinity Miller has come to seek the reclusive Mason’s help for a friend. Now, she and Mason must work together to find out who came after her on his property and, more importantly, why.
Do you live in a small town or visit them in books? Let us know what you think of these big thrillers in the comments!