Thank you Goodreads! --Another First Reads win!
I particularly wanted to like this book because it was a freebie from first reads. However, I found the plot trivial and predictable, the characters unbelievable and the ending wrapped up just a little too neatly without enough substance to warrant it. I’d be more specific, but I don’t want to ruin the plot line for those who haven’t read the book. But, just let me say this—Pickard’s story didn’t hold me in suspense like a good mystery should. She establishes early on why the suspected killer couldn’t have committed the crime, and yet her characters (or at least the main ones) seem oblivious. It was relatively easy to figure out who the real killer was by the process of elimination. No surprises here.
What I did like was her using the real fossil rich chalk lands of western Kansas known as Monument Rocks as a primary feature in her story, renaming them Testament Rocks. She gets kudos for that. I also liked the devotion the patriarch of her wealthy Kansas family, Hugh Linder, Senior, and his wife Annabelle had for each other and their efforts to extend a helping hand to young people from more unfortunate circumstances. However, the fact that they raised an alienated daughter and three sons, none of whom found a lasting or satisfactory relationship, didn’t ring true. You’d think at least one of the kids would emulate the love their parents had for each other.
The back of the book lists various accolades and awards Nancy Pickard has received for her writing, so I’m going to assume this book is the exception.