Avid Series Reader's Reviews > Disturbing the Dead

Disturbing the Dead by Sandra Parshall
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Disturbing the Dead by Sandra Parshall is the second book of the Rachel Goddard mystery series set in a small Appalachian mountain town in contemporary Virginia. Rachel is busy operating her own veterinary clinic, and healing emotionally from terrible events in her past. Tom Bridger is a local sheriff, formerly of Richmond police force, who returned to his home town to take over his late father's job. A skull is discovered on a mountaintop, likely belonging to a woman who disappeared decades ago. Tom remembers his father was obsessed over the missing person case, never solved it.

The murder victim and Tom are Melungeons, a tri-racial mixture. Even in modern-day Appalachia, Melungeons face prejudice. They live in isolated areas in poverty, or turn to crime. When Tom goes to inform the victim's mother of her daughter's death, he meets young Holly, the victim's niece (also Melungeon). Holly's bright, good with animals, but has no chance for education. Tom wants to help Holly, so suggests Rachel hire her at the veterinary clinic.

Rachel sees her younger self in Holly, struggling against obstacles for her future. As soon as Rachel hires (and houses) Holly, they become the target of attacks. The entire extended clan related to the murder victim want to prevent Holly from sharing memories. Holly's grandmother has virtually brainwashed Holly that she "mis-remembered" - that nothing happened - but Holly's nightmares convince Rachel the girl witnessed crimes.

Rachel and Tom are attracted to one another, not quite ready to share themselves fully. Both want to know what Holly remembers, but don't want to destroy her emotionally. When Rachel and Tom separately learn clues about the case, unfortunately they don't pool their knowledge right away, which delays the case and endangers them all. Plenty of villains and red herrings throughout; plot twists come fast and furious at the end.

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Reading Progress

November 23, 2018 – Shelved
Started Reading
September 23, 2019 – Finished Reading

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