Friday, September 22, 2017

The Dark Heart (Dinah Harris Mystery #4)

Title:  The Dark Heart (Dinah Harris Mystery #4)

Author:  Julie Cave

Pages:  276

Year:  2017

Publisher:  Master Books

My rating is 5 out of 5 stars.

Dinah Harris is visiting an old FBI friend, Elise Jones, who is now a detective in a small town.  While in town, a body of a junkie is discovered.  She has been strangled, but evidence is also found that she might not be who everyone thought she was.  Dinah acts as a consultant on the case with Elise heading up the investigation.  The many hours of leg work, phone calls and research begin to find the culprit.  Evidence leads to the local town pastor as having had contact with the drug addict.  Dinah soon discovers he had known the addict while he was in college 20 years before.  Then, another woman’s body is also found strangled.  She had worked a series of temporary jobs, but was known to move around a lot and not settle down.  She, too, was also known to the pastor from his college days.  She has multiple passports and social security numbers just like those found in the addict’s apartment.  What do these three people have in common?

While Dinah and Elise work long hours to gather information and question potential witnesses or culprits, Elise’s 15-year-old daughter is in her sophomore year in school.  She is a good student, but most of the other kids think she is a nerd.  Her best friend and only friend is the local pastor’s daughter.  As Elise continues to question the pastor as she thinks he is hiding something, the friendship between her daughter and his daughter shows signs of tension.  Stretched to the breaking point, the friendship snaps.  Now, Chloe is truly alone and doesn’t know where to turn.

This is not just a murder mystery, but a powerful story about racial injustice and bullying.  These are two terrible acts that are prevalent in our society today.  The bullies in the story are extremely cruel and hateful to someone who is different.  They commit a terrible crime that has devastating results.  The perpetrators of racial injustice in the past are now reaping the consequences of their actions with some dying while another faces the past.  The author does a masterful job of storytelling that drew me in to the tale immediately and pulled my heartstrings with Chloe’s story.  This is a book that plunges to deep depths of sorrow for some and regret for others.  There is hope in the end, but at a high cost.  I got completely involved in the story, letting my emotions ride along with those of some of the characters in the story.  I look forward to Dinah’s next mystery!

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