buriedAlone!—that worn-out word,
So idly spoken, and so coldly heard;
Yet all that poets sing and grief hath known
Of hopes laid waste, knells in that word – Alone! – Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton (1846) – The New Timon Part ii.

The knell, the shroud, the mattock, and the grave,
The deep damp vault, the darkness and the worm.
Edward Young – Night Thoughts. Night iv. Line 10.
All Grace Courtemanche wants (well, besides her stellar career as a Florida State Prosecutor – Grace: 345 Bad Guys: 0) is a home. A family. A place to put down roots and feel secure. Daddy always told her, winners do, Gracie, and doers win. And so she has, over and over again. In her most recent win, the mafia don she put away has tried bribery, threats, and now putting money into an offshore account in her name, getting her placed on administrative leave. Sigh. It can sometimes suck to be perfect.

After multiple threatening calls, Grace simply sends all the restricted number calls to her voice mail, for later retrieval by the sheriff’s office. But today, after eight calls, she picks up the phone on the ninth. And drops straight into a horror story.

It’s cold. And dark. I can’t breathe.”

Desperate to save the young girl trapped in a coffin below ground, Grace throws her must win personality into trying to find and rescue the victim whose terrified voice and heartrending tears call out to her for help. But, why is the girl calling her?

What follows is a race against time, and against a psychopath who apparently has a personal grudge against Grace, and no compunction about murdering innocents to make a point.

Luckily, her ex-husband has literally sailed back into town, docking his sailboat, No Regrets, in the harbor. He has his own problems, in the form of a thirteen-year-old son he didn’t even know he had. All the care in the world can’t help when your lover sabotages the condoms. Now, Hatch must help the grandmother trying to raise Alex to save him from himself. A member of a specialized FBI team, The Apostles, under the leadership of the infamous Parker Lloyd, Hatch is more than happy to assist his ex in her search for the Gravedigger, desperately working along with his crack team to help find the victims, and the soulless killer who is terrorizing Cypress Bend.

As with The Broken, Shelley Coriell’s first Apostle novel, there are many and varied layers to the tale. Grace is a driven woman, driven to the point where, as much as she wants a ‘life’ she has none outside of her work, and the house on the hill she dreams of building. Well, there IS Allegheny Blue, the ancient blue tick hound who refuses to leave his previous home, literally hiking back home from his new home twice, from his owner’s new home over 100 miles away. Now that is dedication to the land he was born and raised on. But Allegheny Blue isn’t her dog – is he?
Agent “Hatch” Hatcher is also well written, a sailor with no ties, and a loose-and-easy way of life that destroyed his connection with his wife ten years ago.

You expected me to give up everything – my job, my family, my dreams and sail with you into the sunset.

Or, did he? Be that as it may, now he seems the same, but different, as Grace watches Hatch and his team work together in a race against time. The other characters are as well developed, and the tension and suspense keeps you turning pages well into the night, breathless for the next big reveal. Who is committing these atrocities, and how is the murder of an elderly couple, being investigated by Greenup, Kentucky State Police Detective Tucker Holt, tied into these brutal crimes? All shall be revealed, and the answers to all of your questions? Well, let’s just say I was shocked and horrified at the answers – answers that will rock the small town of Cypress Bend, Grace and even the vaunted Apostles.

Overall, I was truly happy to be asked by Shelley to review her second book, and I can’t recommend it highly enough for lovers of suspense.

I received this book from the author in return for a realistic review. All my comments are my own. Please see my website for my review of The Broken.

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