Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Broken Places
Rachel Goddard Series #3

by Sandra Parshall


This is the third novel in the Rachel Goddard Series. Broken Places is a very entertaining story that keeps you reading and guessing until the very end with high suspense and great characters.  Cam Taylor is trying to find someone to finance his failing newspaper and appears to be blackmailing Ben Hern, a local artist and cartoonist. Ben has been a longtime friend of veterinarian Rachel Goddard, and she is at Ben's house when the confrontation between Ben and Cam takes place. Then Rachel Goddard sees Cam's car, abandoned in the middle of the road, and hears gunshots in the woods.  When she investigates, she finds Cam's body, but no sign of the shooter. Rachel's boyfriend, Deputy Sheriff Tom Bridger, is investigating the murder and Ben Hern is high on the list of suspects.  Rachel is sure that he is not a murderer. Then Cam's house is burned, and his murdered wife is found inside.

The Taylors and Ben's mother first came to Mason County as VISTA volunteers as part of the 1960s war on poverty, but the Taylors stayed to run the small newspaper and continue their work with impoverished locals. They are well liked in the community, but lately Cam has been making enemies by trying to solicit money from everyone to keep the newspaper afloat. The romance between Rachel and Tom becomes rocky when the Taylors' daughter, who is Tom's ex-girlfriend, returns to Mason County, and becomes a hindrance to the investigation.

When someone breaks into Rachel's house—while she and her assistant are asleep—and turns on the gas, the suspense kicks into high gear.  To add to the mystery, Ben's mother is missing, and a neighbor reports seeing her car at the Taylor house just before the fire started. Then her abandoned car is found in the bottom of a remote ravine, partially covered with tree limbs.

It's hard to guess the identity of the killer and the motive until very near the end in this story of murder, betrayal, disturbing secrets, and divided loyalties.  Nothing is quite what it seems. I like Parshall's writing style.  Her characterization and plotting skills are outstanding, and you can always count on Poisoned Pen Press for excellence in mystery.

The Book

Poisoned Pen Press
February 1, 2010
Hardcover (Reviewed from the Uncorrected Proof)
1590586530 / 978-1590586532
More at

The Reviewer

Beverly J. Rowe
Reviewed 2010
NOTE: Reviewer Beverly J. Rowe is's "Babes to Teens" columnist, covering topics related to reading ideas for the youth in the family.
© 2010