A true crime podcast yields new revelations about a shocking murder.
True crime podcaster Trinity Scott is chasing breakout success, and her brand-new serial may get her there. Her subject is Clayton Jay Pelley. More than two decades ago, the respected family man and guidance counselor confessed to the brutal murder of teenage student Leena Rai. But why he killed her has always been a mystery.
In a series of exclusive interviews from prison, Clayton discloses to Trinity the truth about what happened that night beneath Devil’s Bridge. It’s not what anyone in the Pacific Northwest town of Twin Falls expects. Clayton says he didn’t do it. Was he lying then? Or now?
As her listeners increase and ratings skyrocket, Trinity is missing a key player in the story: Rachel Walczak, the retired detective who exposed Pelley’s twisted urges and put him behind bars. She’s not interested in playing Clayton’s game - until Trinity digs deeper and the podcast’s reverb widens. Then Rachel begins to question everything she thinks she knows about the past.
With each of Clayton’s teasing reveals, one thing is clear: he’s not the only one in Twin Falls with a secret.
Loreth Anne White is an Amazon Charts, Washington Post, and Bild bestselling author of thrillers, mysteries, and suspense. With over 3 million books sold around the world, she is an ITW thriller award finalist, a three-time RITA finalist, an overall Daphne du Maurier Award winner, Arthur Ellis finalist, and winner of multiple industry awards.
A recovering journalist who has worked in both South Africa and Canada, she now calls Canada home. She resides in the Pacific Northwest, dividing time between Victoria on Vancouver Island, a ski resort in the Coast Mountains, and a rustic lakeside cabin in the Cariboo.
When she’s not writing or dreaming up plots, you will find her on the lakes, in the ocean, or on the trails with her dog where she tries—unsuccessfully—to avoid bears. For more information on her books please visit her website at lorethannewhite.com
A dark and gripping thriller involving a decades old murder and the podcast that is unburying secrets.
Trinity Scott is a true crime podcaster, whose new podcast, It’s Criminal, focuses on the violent sexual assault and murder of Leena Rai, a 14-year old, in 1997. Her guidance counselor, Clayton Pelley, confessed to the crime and has been imprisoned ever since.
Trinity is eager to interview retired detective Rachel Walczak, who led the case over 20 years ago. Rachel has tried her best to keep the past in the past, but doesn’t realize how much the podcast has blown up in ratings after only two episodes.
Then, Trinity drops a bombshell. She lets Rachel know that she has spoken to Clayton in jail, and that he says he didn’t commit the crimes against Leena…and that the real killer is still out there.
Rachel realizes that she has no way to keep the past from colliding with the present as the podcast creates an avalanche of secrets that more than one person hoped would stay hidden.
Beneath Devil’s Bridge is an enthralling mystery that does a wonderful job telling the story through two timelines (1997 and Present), and through the podcast itself. The characters are well developed, complex, and not all likable. In fact, there are plenty of things about them not to like at different moments. It started a bit on the slower side, but quickly picked up as events revealed things I wasn’t expecting. The second half is nearly unputdownable and thick with tension, and I couldn’t help but race through the pages to find out how it would end.
Needless to say, this book has some triggers, and the scene of Leena’s murder is brutal and hard to read without flinching. The book explores some very dark topics and brings them to the forefront. I definitely recommend to those who enjoy the inclusion of podcasts to tell a story, and don’t mind if it’s on the darker side.
Available now from Montlake, and free to read to Kindle Unlimited members.
True Crime Podcaster Trinity Scott has scored a series of twenty minute interviews with self confessed serial killer, Clayton Jay Pelley.
As she presses the recorder button, red light glowing, she is aware that she must frame her questions in a way that will solicit the response she wants. She is aware of the different narrative arcs which are possible. And, she is aware that she is an actor in her own production.
But, she never anticipated that Clay Pelley would now be claiming that he is innocent.
Twenty years ago, he was convicted of the VICIOUS rape and murder of 14 year old, Leena Rai, who was found floating beneath Devil’s Bridge, surrounded by pages ripped out of her missing journal.
“Loose pages, Loose Ends. They leave too many unanswered questions. Questions the detectives on the case dropped.” A trail that “It’s Criminal” plans to follow” Trinity says, as dramatic music fades out…
Trinity also knows that “people who don’t want to talk, often have the best things to say”, but retired detective, Rachel Walczak, isn’t talking. At least not in the PRESENT DAY timeline.
But, we do get to find out what happened from Rachel, as she was investigating the crime, in the 1997 timeline, as the Podcast opens up old wounds and has her also questioning the events of the past.
The MOOD of the book is set from the opening chapters- I felt the chill in the air, pictured the gusty winds and thunderous clouds being described. The weather was as brutal as the crime-the secrets kept were devastating.
Although there was some repetition because the Podcast episodes would repeat the things we knew from the investigation, and a lot of characters to keep track of in the beginning-the pace ramped up as the book raced to its conclusion and the surprises kept coming!
I enjoyed floating theories with Ceecee and Susan, who buddy read this one with me.
And, I am already looking forward to reading the author’s next book, “The Patient’s Secret” publishing in March 2022.
Twenty four years previous, Clay pled guilty to murdering one of his students, fifteen year old Leena. She was found in the water beaten and forcefully drowned under Devil’s Bridge.
Clay refused to talk and without a trial and discovery, the small town of Twin Falls never received closure. No one else is talking either. What really happened that night?
When an ambitious podcaster begins stirring things up, secrets are exposed.
This is a moody story - sad because a talented unpopular girl was killed before she could make her mark on the world. She had dreams and I couldn’t not be affected on her behalf.
The author created the perfect setting for this story capturing the northwest locale near the Canadian border. The mountains, cold and dank, dreary rain, and the shadowing. When fall is settling into winter, there’s no brightness even at high noon. Everything seems dark.
I loved the author’s previous book In the Deep which led me to downloading this through Kindle Unlimited. Both are available on Amazon.
I really enjoyed reading this despite some difficult subject matter. Thank you to Ceecee and Jayme for reading and discussing it with me!
So had to rate this a 5. Loreth has written a mystery that gripped me from page 1. It covers bullying and the harm it can do. In this case, a girl who so badly wants to fit in, admittedly she went the wrong way about it but did she deserve to be murdered? Then a young woman starts a pod cast to find out why the convicted man did it and things start to go sideways for the town involved. I believe if you like mystery and drama you will regret not reading this book.
Twenty-four years ago, a small community was horrified and sickened by the rape, brutal beating and drowning of fourteen year old Leena Rai. When a beloved school guidance counselor confessed to the crime, shock waves reverberated throughout the small, close-knit community and rumors ran rampant. After his detailed confession, Clayton Jay Pelley refused to speak of the crime again. He accepted his life sentence without benefit of a trial, leaving the police and community frustrated with unanswered questions and dangling case threads.
Now Pelley is talking to Trinity Scott, a young, ambitious true crime podcast reporter. Upon her arrival in Twin Falls, Scott relentlessly pursues everyone with ties to the old case including one of the original investigators, retired Detective Rachel Walczak, whose life course was tragically altered by the murder and subsequent investigation. Her refusal to be interviewed motivates Scott to dig deeper into the past, and she unknowingly sets off a series of events that quickly spiral out of control when episodes of her podcast begin to air. The release of Trinity's interviews with Pelley sends shock waves rumbling through the community as new questions are raised and the past and present collide. People are nervous. People are scared. People are lying. Why? Was Clay's confession twenty four years ago a truth? Or lie? If he didn't kill her, who did?
Inspired by a true crime, White has penned a thriller I promise will leave you dazed and searching for answers while trying to come to terms with a crime so cold-blooded, so heartless, so unimaginable that it begs the question "Why"? Dark, unsettling, disturbing on many levels, Beneath Devil's Bridge forces readers to acknowledge the dark side of human nature. Unfolding through multiple points of view and then/now chapters, the story moves forward like an avalanche - picking up momentum, rolling over you page by page, chapter by chapter, podcast after podcast until it buries you. As I burned through pages with heart pounding, the only thing I could hear was these character's voices in my head - their lies, deceit, accusations - brought to life through flawed characters, twisted plot lines and all five senses. All thanks to the expertise of an author who excels at manipulating and transporting readers into unsettling scenes alongside unreliable narrators hiding game-changing secrets. White's masterful rendering of this story shines a light on some ugly truths still prevalent in society today. The reading experience will be greatly enhanced if you go into it as I did - knowing little. However, I'll leave you with one quote to ponder: "If it takes a village to raise a child, does it also take a village to kill one?"
If I'm lucky, maybe once in a blue moon, I read a book that leaves my mind reeling, heart aching and soul searching. One that haunts me long after The End. Beneath Devil's Bridge is one of those books. Loreth Anne White has a gift for rendering thought-provoking stories that demand attention, respect and intimate soul searching. Stories that inspire, entertain and motivate. Stories that hurl you at warp speed toward electrifying endings you most likely won't see coming. Highly recommended for fans of true crime, suspense thrillers, mysteries and 5 star books in any genre.
I can't believe I waited this long to read her release of this year. I blame it on work. It has been a busy year for me.
Loreth Anne White's books are a treat. I usually preordered (which I did) and then when the audio is available I listen to it while I drive. She is an auto-buy for me.
But I digress...
Beneath's Devil's Bridge is set in the small town of Twin Falls. A teenager, Leena Rai was found sexually assaulted and drowned in 1997. The detective in charge of the investigation, Rachel Walczak investigated Clayton Pelley whose confession sent him to jail for over twenty years.
In the present, Trinity Scott is doing her new podcast, Criminal, which follows Leena's case. When Trinity interviews Clayton, she gets the best soundbite. He tells her he is innocent and that means the real killer is still running free! Of course, Trinity goes in search of Rachel to find out what she remembers from that time and what did the cops miss during their investigation.
Beneath Devil's Bridge was a page-turner, audio-fast-speeding thriller for me. I couldn't wait to see what really happened to Leena and why.
Loreth Ann White does a wonderful job in leaving all the crumbs necessary for a perfect delivery.
It’s 2.04 am on 15th November 1997 and Leena Rai is on Devils Bridge near Twin Falls. She’s drunk, disoriented, desperate to fit in as peopled don’t really like her or see her - except for him. In the present day Trinity Scott is keen to track down Rachel Walczak, the detective who hunted down Leena’s brutal killer, Clayton Jay Peller who has been incarcerated ever since. He plead guilty, he never confessed to the why of the killing, never spoken of it until now. Trinity is the co-creator and host of a true crime podcast ‘It’s Criminal’ and to whom Clay is now prepared to tell his story. Why now? What are his motives? Is he playing a game? If so, who with? Trinity? Rachel? RCMP Detective Luke Leary who worked with Rachel? The story is told from 1997 and in the present day which works well with the storyline flowing.
Talk about open a huge can of worms or is that snakes? The night of Leena’s disappearance is captured vividly as is how her death changed everything in this small community. The author creates a terrific atmosphere and sense of place through the quality of the writing. The characterisation is very good, you get a keen sense of misfit Leena and can understand why she’s hard to like though your blood boils with the injustice and her fate. Clay is a hard one to pin down as you learn things about him that turns your stomach. This is not an easy read by any means but it’s a gripping one. So many his and buried huge secrets and told enormous lies, the teenagers are like one secretive dark cabal in a conspiracy of silence. There are some big reveals that shock you and that you don’t see coming. I like the ending with some form of resolution and the addressing of huge wrongs.
Overall, another engrossing, well written thriller from the author.
Thank you to Jayme and Susan for the buddy read and one we all thought was good!!!
Beneath Devil’s Bridge was a great thriller and murder mystery that worked for me!
Last night, I spent too much time finishing this instead of sleeping to find out who the killer was and how this murder case would be solved!
First of all, I wanted to read this book because I love true crime podcasts. How would a book tackle this type of audio content? I thought Loreth Anne White did a good job separating the podcast part of the book from the past when the murder occurs.
Beneath Devil’s Bridge starts off with true crime podcaster, Trinity Scott investigating the murder of Leena Rai.
Twenty-five years ago, Leena was a high-school student at Twin Falls, a small community town in the Pacific Northwest of Canada. She is brutally murdered one night and the forensic details of the case lead homicide investigators to the high school guidance counselor and basketball coach, Clayton Jay Pelley.
The subject matter of this book is not for the faint of heart and I really felt for Leena Rai’s family and what this poor girl endured.
Trinity Scott has finally gotten an exclusive interview with Clayton to find out why he killed Leena. He hasn’t talked to anyone since the murder and Trinity knows that his confession will make the podcast’s ratings soar.
Did he really kill Leena or is he a predator that’s just toying with Trinity?
By talking about the murder case again, Trinity tries to get insight and an interview from retired detective, Rachel Walczak that arrested Clayton, but she's not talking. As Trinity starts digging up dark secrets of Twin Falls, the reader realizes the case has lots of unanswered questions about motives, lies from many witnesses, and what really happened that night when Leena was killed.
This case has always bothered Rachel and she soon realizes that she also needs more answers as well.
Beneath Devil’s Bridge has the right amount of plot twists, great characters, and a town full of secrets. It was hard to put this one down because the writing by White was fantastic!
Why would someone admit to a terrible rape and murder? Why would someone more than 24 years later finally decide to tell the ‘true’ story of the murder using the modern media platform of the true crime podcast. Podcasts, the media platform that panders to our gullibility at its near worst, or brings important information or conclusions to the forefront at its best. Most importantly, how do you know the difference? In Beneath Devil’s Bridge the reader gets a chance to examine all the choices available to the host and listeners of "It’s Criminal", Trinity Scott. Trinity Scott is hoping for a breakout success with her new crime podcast. She and her assistant producer, Gio Rossi, picked 14 old high school student Leena Rai’s story of rape and brutal murder from 24 years ago. The vicious rape, beating, and drowning of the high school student who only wanted to fit in. Leena was the “other”, she always seemed to say wrong thing, make the wrong move. She was also a talented writer; but she just didn’t have a clue on how to navigate high school. Leena was lucky enough to fall under the kindness and encouragement of a popular school counselor, Clayton Jay Pelley. Pelley, the man who confessed to raping and murdering Leena Rai; the man who 24 years later has finally decided to talk with Trinity Scott. Trinity has all of her ducks in a row for her podcast. With Pelley willing to speak out, Trinity has all the makings of a breakout, all she is missing are the original detectives. One of them is in hospice, the other, Rachel Walczak now Hart, retired soon after Pelley went to jail and her life spun apart, shattering to pieces. Now she has found a small measure of peace, living with her former psychologist and farming. With Trinity’s first interview, Pelley makes jaw dropping revelations. Trinity and everyone in the little resource town of Twin Falls react with shock and anger: and fear. For Hart, it is even worse, as she begins to doubt her own investigation. As Pelley makes more revelations Rachel begins to work with Trinity. All of a sudden the question becomes: is this a case of the wrong man being in prison for the wrong reasons, or the right man being in prison for the wrong reasons or the wrong man being in prison for the right reasons. Could this even be a case of the right man being in prison for the right reason? Follow the walnut shells, but remember the hand is quicker than the eye. Loreth Anne White smoothly handles the two timelines and the two narrators but gives the reader no special insight as the reader is right along for the devastating ride with Trinity and Rachel. We might make our guesses, but we will most probably have to change them. White doesn’t make it easy; we have to work for our conclusions. White’s books aren’t always easy to read, she inserts almost immediately a small niggle of discomfort. Is that me? Could this be me or someone I know? Usually the discomfort changes to something else when we see the full scope of what people can do to one another, doesn't matter if they are friends, lovers, relatives, or almost strangers. Same with her settings, prosaic almost; beaches, lakes, forests but in exotic, extremely hard to survive locations. As those of us who have lived or experienced one of these-is there any place harder to survive than in a small town or in high school for a young girl? Brilliant writing. Gasping, reading faster, reaching for Kleenex, biting a nail or two, staying up way late, looking for chocolate, shaking head, slowing toward the end; all behaviors associated with reading a Loreth Anne White book. Especially Beneath Devil’s Bridge ; because at the end, it will really make the reader think and consider. Then do it again. My thanks to NetGalley and Loreth Anne White for the ARC.
OUT EARLY!!! And free with Amazon First Reads (and Prime) in the US, Canada, UK, and Australia!!
Dear Readers in Australia and the UK, you now have EARLY ACCESS to read BENEATH DEVIL'S BRIDGE for the month of May!
"Perfect for fans of Mystic River or podcasts like Serial and My Favorite Murder, this is a mystery that doesn’t stop at asking, 'What happened?' In the wake of the truth, those left behind reckon with 'What now?' It’s an affecting novel from a supremely talented author, and one I’m thrilled to recommend to you today." ~ editor, Alison Dasho
Trinity Scott has just released the first few episodes of her new true crime podcast. Fourteen years ago, teenager Leena Rai was found brutally murdered. Her high school guidance counselor, Clayton Pelley, confessed to her murder. Now Trinity wants to talk to the people who investigated this case. Former detective Rachel Walczak has no intention of being interviewed. She wants to forget all of the pain caused by this case. But Trinity has talked to Pelley who now says that he did not kill Leena. Rachel wonders if he is lying or if the real killer is still out there.
This story is told from the point-of-view of both Trinity and Rachel. It is also told from two timelines. In 1997, Rachel describes the murder investigation and the steps that led her to arrest Clayton Pelley. In the present, she listens to the podcast and the interviews, wondering if the wrong person was arrested. Trinity tracks down the people who were at the same party as Leena on the night of her death, asking them to recall everything that happened.
There are lots and lots of characters in this book. Each one of them has a secret and each one of them is a suspect. There were lots of twists and turns that I didn't see coming. Overall, another good mystery from Loreth Anne White. My rating: 4 Stars.
I recently discovered Loreth Anne White and have loved all her books, rating them 4 and 5 stars. Beneath Devil's Bridge stands out above and beyond as my favorite.
Trinity, a true crime podcaster, interviews Clayton Pelley who hasn't spoken for 14 years since he confessed to violently killing and raping Leena Rai. Now he wants to backtrack on his confession, claiming he did not do it.
An absolutely captivating mystery that is shockingly based on a real crime. I highly recommend NOT looking up the true crime story until after you have read this as it will be a major spoiler. I was shocked how similar the stories were and how White was able to weave an unputdownable thriller out of it.
Trigger warning: the scene that shows how the young girl died is really graphic.
Highly recommended if you're a Loreth Anne White fan or, hell, if you need to start somewhere with this author.
I think this is one of my favorite thrillers of 2021 so far! I don't even know if I can fully explain what I loved about it, but it's one that I am definitely keeping for my personal collection (which I don't do very often, and which also tells me that it spoke to my soul for some reason).
The story was inspired by an actual event, and begins in 1997, with the voice of 14-year-old, Leena Rai, who is about to be brutally murdered in a small Canadian town of Twin Falls; and you glimpse the horror from her perspective. Fast forward to present day and the arrival of true crime podcaster, Trinity Scott, who is in town to delve deeper into Leena's murder. The case was quickly solved in 1997 when popular local teacher, Clayton Pelley, who was also Leena's tutor, admitted to the murder. Now though, in a recent interview from prison with Trinity Scott, Pelley now claims that he is innocent and did not kill Leena. There were always loose ends that didn't quite add up, but after the quick confession, they were all but forgotten about by the town people - except by local detective Rachel Walczak and RMCP homicide inspector Luke O'Leary. Pelley's claims of innocence sets off a chain of events that shakes the foundation of Twin Falls and "rips the band-aid off" of matters that were thought to be buried forever, as everybody seems to be hiding something.
I've been waiting for a well-written thriller featuring a true crime podcast, and this one checks all the boxes - complete with shocking moments as to what occurred back in 1997, who was present, who told the truth, and who lied, etc. With each new podcast, you can feel the tension through the pages as the town becomes more uneasy and things start to snowball, as the emerging truth inevitably rips lives apart.
The storyline unfolds through two POVs, Trinity and Rachel. Rachel's POV is dominant, as it is told both in present day, and in the past when Rachel was investigating the murder. Rachel and Trinity are both complex characters. I'm not certain that I really liked either one of them, but by the end of the book, I felt myself sympathizing with both of them. Maybe that was also because there were so many other liars in this book, but that also made for a riveting read. There were many twists and turns in crazy directions that I didn't expect. I had some clues as to where things were headed, and while I was somewhat following the right trail, I was so engrossed in one part of the story, that I completely missed another key part!
As is the case with every Loreth Anne White book I've read, her use of atmosphere is brilliant - Twin Falls was an utterly depressing, dark, but yet captivating setting. I felt like I was there - or at least hanging intently on every episode of the podcast. While perhaps the ending went in a bit of different direction than I would have chosen, I can't even fault the book for it, as every other part surpassed my expectations. White has become one of my go-to authors, and I think this is her best yet! All the stars.
Brzo se čita, lagano doziranje novih informacija bilo je odlično i tjeralo je dalje kako bi se doznalo tko je koga, kako i zašto. Bez obzira što je bilo previše „slučajnosti“ koje su se uspjele posložiti kako bismo dobili cjelovitu priču i pretjeran kraj, iznenadila sam se u nekoliko situacija što je svakako bio plus, a glavni ženski lik je bio dovoljno životan kao i cijelo to malo mjesto u kojem je radnja smještena. Osnovna tema će (za razliku od cijele knjige) ostati u sjećanju.
„Jer ne znati ništa može biti strašnije nego znati nešto, čak i ako je loše.“
„Uvijek duboko u nama postoji jedan dio koji ostaje djevojčica kakva smo nekoć bili. Bilo da imamo petnaest, četrdeset ili osamdeset, te se mala osoba još uvijek skriva iza svega što radimo, mislimo, pokušavamo postati ili protiv čega se borimo.“
„Istina uvijek pronađe način da izađe na vidjelo.“
„Sve što možemo učiniti jest priznati svoje greške iz prošlosti pa iskoristiti ono što smo naučili kako bismo dali sve od sebe u budućnosti.“
I honestly do not understand why this book has such a high rating. The story was interesting and engaging, obviously enough to compel me to keep reading, but it was with much eye-rolling and spite, and a little bit of hope that by the end it would get better and maybe give an unexpected twist. The plot was entirely predictable pretty much from the beginning, the dialogue was overly formal and every character spoke pretty much the same as every other character meaning nobody had much of a distinct personality, and characters' motivations were not quite believable, at least not to the extent that they acted upon those motivations. The revealing of the "moral" of the story was also really heavy-handed in the way it was presented at the end. I was not at all surprised to find that the author was a former journalist, because the way the characters spoke often sounded as if it came straight out of a poorly written article with lots of purple prose. I was surprised (and a little dismayed) to learn that it was based on a true story (it's not stated on the cover or in the synopsis, and I read the kindle version, which jumps you to the first page and skips over the copyright page and author's notes, so I didn't realize it until after reading), and just how much the author took directly from the true story.
I was going to give this two stars, because at least there aren't any typos and I did manage to finish it, but after writing this review and clarifying my thoughts, I'm knocking it down to one.
As someone who has recently become addicted to true crime podcasts, when they take a role in any fiction reading I'm doing it's like a little literary bonus - and Beneath Devils Bridge really engaged me with the intriguing characters, the emotionally charged writing and the haunting mystery elements.
I bought this after seeing it come up in true crime- even though this is entirely fictional the inspiration came from a real crime in the authors vicinity. This shows as she ably gets across the horror of the situation whilst still managing to entertain with a twisty unpredictable plot.
This was the first book I read by this author. I liked some aspects of the book and some made me role my eyes lol. The story flowed at a pretty good pace and was different. I was a little worried about if I coould like a story about a pod cast and I still am lol. I was not wild about the main character and some of the seocondary characters blended together and it was hard to tell who was who lol. I also though it was weird how the main detectives story was told at times-it seemed a little off to me it just did not click how she could remember all these things from the past. I also thought how some of the seocndary characters acted was a little rich . It was a different story I giv eit credit for that but way too many twist for me in this book. I do not think I would read the second book in the series. I would give it a 3.0 on the dot but for me it is a skip-it is very borderline.
Another good one by Loreth Anne White. While similar to her other books, this one is a little different. We do get a female lead detective who has now left the police department after the last case she worked on 20 years ago. Her family is in shambles and she is a recluse living with her former psychiatrist. A true crime podcaster stirs up the small town and exposes secrets on what was considered a closed case.
Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) provided by the Author and Publisher via Amazon First Reads in exchange for an fair and honest review.
I read a lot of Romance and Romantic-Suspense, not so much Mystery and never True Crime, just not my thing. But, anything Loreth Anne White writes, I'll read. There is no other author who can get me involved in a story the way she can.
Twenty-Four years ago a young girl was assaulted, brutally beaten and murdered. Her killer was caught, confessed and put in prison. Case closed . . . until Trinity Scott and her podcast, It's Criminal. She has opened a whole can of nasty worms and a lot of festering secrets come oozing out. In her first interview with convicted killer, Clayton Jay Pelley, he tells her that he didn't kill Leena Rai and the killer is still out there.
No one wanted to believe he didn't kill the girl, but one of the detectives, Rachel Hart Walczak, has always known there were a lot of loose ends in this case. Rachel sets out to put this case to bed once and for all, even if it means that it could cost her her own family.
As the tangled web of secret desires and deadly secrets unravel, it becomes apparent that no one who interacted with Lenna Rai the night she died told the truth.
I read or have read nearly all of Loreth Anne White's books and I have enjoyed them all to varying degrees. Beneath Devil's Bridge is my favorite thus far. I'm unsure if it was the format of using a podcast, which I thought I wouldn't like since it's a bit trendy right now, or the sneaky way that White released new little secrets throughout the book leading up to the shocking reveal at the end - a surprise I didn't see coming at all, but regardless of why I loved it, I truly did. It's a well written, engrossing tale that unfolds at a quick enough pace that you never want to put down the book until you know what really happened under Devil's Bridge. I highly recommend this one!
When true crime podcaster Trinity Scott shows up at retired detective Rachel Walczak’s hide-away-from-the-world hobby farm, she sets into motion a series of events that will flip Twin Falls on its back- baring the town’s carefully hidden secrets.
Twenty-four years earlier, fourteen-year-old Leena Rai was brutally beaten and murdered under Devil’s Bridge. Detective Walczak and RCMP Detective Luke O’Leary investigate. They find enough to bring in guidance counsellor Clayton Jay Pelley, who then admits to the crime. Signed, sealed, delivered, except there are elements to the case that go unexplained.
Trinity has managed to score the interview of the decade with the murderer, who now says he didn’t commit the crime. In a series of podcast episodes, Scott reveals new information that reopens old wounds and throws the small town into turmoil.
This story is based on a true story that took place only blocks from my home. It is horrendous, sad, and unacceptable. We need to work harder to connect with our teens and learn when they are in trouble. I feel like this is an issue with working parents; children are left to raise themselves at a time when they need the most guidance.
Loreth tackled a tough subject matter with her signature journalistic style, shedding a light on diversity and bullying- a must read!
“I voluntarily read an ARC of this book which was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.”
I could not put this book down. This story draws you in from the beginning until the very end. So many twists, turns, and heartbreaking secrets.
Leena is an outcast, she's different and desperately wants to fit in with her peers, however, the story begins with her murder which leads to a confession by her guidance counselor who is sentenced to life in prison. End of story, right? fast forward 24 years as the homicide is featured on a "True Crime" podcast. The accused has decided to do an interview with the host of the podcast and he reveals that he didn't kill Leena. The interviews are shocking and reveal new information that prompts one of the old detectives to revisit the case and she is unprepared when the truth is discovered.
I have read a few books by this author and never disappointed. Her ability to weave a suspenseful tale with a hook every other chapter, kept me engaged until the end.
"A girl with long dark hair stumbles across a railroad trestle in the northern forests near a small town with a lumber mill and a massive waterfall." I'm actually okay with rewriting well known stories from another angle, and it's a great way to get started with an idea. Lest you think I'm exaggerating the link between Ronnette Pulaski and Leena Rai in this book, I stumbled across the author calling Twin Falls PD, Twin "Peaks" PD about 57% into my kindle version. That's not why I gave it 2 stars. I gave it such a low rating because it promises something it doesn't deliver. It promises to tell us what really happened in that small town to people's hearts that led to a girl dying. It promises to really drill down, to help us understand how bad things happen. What it delivers is a contrived intertwining of relationships with sensationalized explosive events that are designed for a high-profile tv adaption. While the murder is almost fully explained, the motivations really aren't. We get well-known tropes about social dynamics and bad decisions and a hallmark "special moment" ending. The best thing about the book is it's inspiration. It could have been so much more.
Review Snapshot : Beneath the Devil’s Bridge is one of the best murder mysteries I have ever read! This book is engrossing, compulsively readable, and exquisitely written. I simply could not put it down!
It’s been a long time since I’ve read a murder mystery novel that has kept me so engaged in the story that I didn’t want to put it down. And I mean it, this book, I didn’t want to put it down not for anything! I was riveted, glued to my seat, and wishing I could finish it faster so I could get all the answers I craved while also wishing it would never end- it’s THAT good. I haven’t had the pleasure of reading the authors work before, but you can bet I’ll be buying all print copies of her previous ones. If it’s as addicting as this one, I’ll be reading her books one after another until I finish them all! AH! I am so glad I chose this book for last months amazons first reads. I HIGHLY recommend it!
If you are a fan of true crime stories, true crime podcasts, and murder mysteries then this is the book you need in your life! While it’s not a true crime novel I believe it is based on one (I need to research this because I need that true crime book!). Also, it incorporates a true crime podcast, and of course a murder mystery that will leave you anxious for the truth! I didn’t see it coming, and to surprise a reader like who feels like she’s read EVERYTHING that’s a really good thing!
Anyway, I obviously loved this book more than words can even express and I hope anyone out there that hasn’t read it will give it a chance! I’m going to keep this review fairly light as I don’t want to give the plot away at all (read it blind if you can!), so I’ll end it here PICK UP THIS BOOK!
Beneath Devil’s Bridge is a tense, tightly-plotted and superbly-executed mystery that is very loosely based on a real-life murder that happened in British Columbia some twenty-four years ago. It’s a compelling, absorbing read that takes a look at the impact of a brutal crime on a small, close-knit community and asks some challenging questions about the lengths to which people will go to protect those they love or about what we are capable of doing to our fellow human beings. It comprises some difficult subjects, so potential readers should be aware that the murder itself is quite gruesome (although we don’t witness it directly) and the story contains references to bullying, grooming, paedophilia, underage sex and rape.
If it takes a village to raise a child, does it also take a village to kill one?
Fourteen-year-old Leena Rai is an outsider. Socially awkward and plain, all she really wants is what any teenage girl wants – to belong, to have friends, to be happy. Sadly, she has none of those things. She’s bullied relentlessly at school and on a cold November night she is brutally murdered when she’s on her way home from a “secret” bonfire festival in the mountains north of the small town of Twin Falls in the Pacific Northwest.
When her battered body is pulled out of the river a few days later, Detective Rachel Walczak is assigned to the case, along with Sergeant Luke O’Leary, a homicide detective from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police – who will bring an outside perspective (and the considerable resources of the RCMP) to the investigation. But as Rachel and Luke start interviewing Leena’s schoolmates, and others who were at the bonfire, they immediately get the sense that something is being carefully hidden from them; the stories they’re hearing are too pat, as though they’ve been co-ordinated… but by whom? And why? This all becomes moot however, when someone – a teacher and guidance counsellor at Twin Falls Secondary school – confesses to the crime. The case is closed, there’s no trial and Clayton Jay Pelley goes to prison.
Twenty four years later, ambitious true-crime podcaster Trinity Scott decides to focus on the murder of Leena Rai in her latest series, and arrives in Twin Falls to speak to as many of the people involved in the original investigation as possible – including now-retired Rachel Walczak, whose health and family relationships deteriorated severely not long after the case concluded and who subsequently retired from the force. Rachel has steadfastly refused each of Trinity’s requests, and when Trinity tells her that Pelley has agreed to speak to her, she’s incredulous. Pelley has never spoken about the murder and the events of that night – and when, in the first of Trinity’s planned series of interviews, Pelley says he didn’t rape and kill Leena, and that her real killer is still out there, everything about the investigation is called into question. Long-buried secrets threaten to tear apart a community already blighted by tragedy, and Rachel finds herself sucked back in, questioning her decisions, asking questions perhaps she should have asked back then, and remembering things she’d rather forget.
Written from the points of view of Rachel and Trinity and interspersed with excerpts from the interviews and podcasts, the author spins a taut thriller that moves back and forth between “then” – following the initial investigation – and “now”, the tension and momentum building inexorably in the manner of a snowball rolling down a mountain so that it quickly becomes dangerous and unstoppable. Trinity’s interest in the Leena Rai murder opens a veritable Pandora’s Box, as layer upon layer of deception and betrayal is stripped away to reveal a truth more heartless and cold-blooded than anyone could have foreseen, and a small-town community bonded by trauma and deep, dark secrets.
At Devil’s Bridge is a powerful exploration of community, of what it means to be an outsider, of the unkindness and callousness we can so thoughtlessly offer our fellow man and of the way that only the truth – “Even if it hurts. Even takes you somewhere you don’t want to go” – can start to heal such deep-seated wounds. The author also questions the value of things such as true-crime podcasts; are they purely sensationalist entertainment, another form of trial by media? Or do they have something genuine to offer – a fresh perspective, a new insight?
This is a dark, unsettling book on many levels, and it isn’t always easy to read – not only when it comes to the details about the murder, but also in its skilful examination of the worst aspects of human nature. For all that, though, it’s absolutely riveting, the characters are well-drawn, the pacing is excellent with several good twists along the way (some I saw coming, others I didn’t), and the setting is expertly realised.
I don’t really have any negatives to offer; there’s one twist that felt just a little improbable, but I’m sure it’s no moreso than many of those found in other mysteries and it didn’t impact my enjoyment of the novel at all.
I don’t read many thrillers, but Loreth Anne White is one of my go-to authors, and I always make a point of looking out for whatever she’s coming up with next. In At Devil’s Bridge she once again delivers a thumping good read, a darkly atmospheric page-turner that had me glued to the pages, desperate to find out the truth, and running the gamut of emotions. It’s a masterful piece of storytelling and I’m only too happy to recommend it.