|Alex Matthews: Death's Domain|
Press (Hardcover), ISBN 1-890768-37-5
Cassidy McCabe, psychotherapist and cat lover, hides a life-changing secret. It involves death, old friends, infidelity and guilt. Repressed memories come flashing back like fireworks when she opens the local newspaper to read: "Cassidy McCabe, 24, died Nov. 4 in an automobile accident."
Cassidy's obituary appears on the anniversary of the secret event, and she senses the anger and evil behind the brief death announcement. But who could be doing this after all of these years? Soon hateful and threatening messages zoom to her via e-mail. As the danger escalates, Cassidy confides her carefully guarded secret with her investigative-reporter husband, Zach, and together they follow the clues to the cruel and deadly villain.
This husband and wife team, who continually work through their commitment and trust issues, relive some of the worst moments of Cassidy's pre-Zach life. During the investigation Zach meets Cassidy's ex-husband, Kevin, who heads the list of suspects. The resulting uncomfortable threesome -- the ex-hubby, the current spouse and the woman they both love -- makes for an interesting and incendiary triangle.
When the threats appear to target Zach, Cassidy throws aside any hesitancy to reveal her secret or confront old friends. Everyone looks guilty and all the players in that ancient secret harbor their own residual emotions and motives.
Relationship-wise, Cassidy and Helen remain locked in their mother-daughter battle. But Cassidy and Zach make a gratifying leap forward in their marriage. Gran and Starshine make gratuitous appearances, while Brice complicates the family dynamics with his matched set of emotional baggage.
As a social worker and therapist, Alex Matthews explores emotions, guilt, and relationship issues. Her use of italics to denote Cassidy's inner thoughts seem less detracting in this book.
A decades' old secret, now resurrected, causes even the most hardened mystery buff to sit up and read. Mix that with quirky, loveable characters, a touch of psychoanalysis and a well-paced mystery, and you have a tantalizing combination. Readers will find a surprising, yet satisfying ending.
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