Copperhead Road, by Roger Canaff.

"I read an earlier version of this novel years ago and the characters . . . especially John . . . still live inside my head. So does the tragic story line. These days many people can relate to being sexually abused as children (myself included) so I find it refreshing to see an author shed light on the subject, and Roger did so with much honesty and grace. The friendships among the boys are beautiful . . . and the suspense is first-rate. I recommend to both fans of suspense and coming of age. It should definitely please both." -- Amazon reviewer

At seventeen, John Ray had silently survived years of childhood molestation at the hands of a respected coach and mentor in his hometown. That should have been enough. But as younger boys start disappearing, found raped and murdered in the same woods where he was once victimized, he must confront not only his own past but an interwoven set of characters, some evil, some desperate and some both, who share his memories in one way or another.

On the edge of manhood, it is five years since John escaped his own child abuse, although the abuser, Jim Kelly, remains a family friend and a well-liked pillar of the community. But Kelly has left him alone for years, and John assumes he's safe at last.

He's beginning his last year of high school, the memory buried under the typical pangs of adolescence, cigarettes, swiped liquor, and the warmth of his friends- boys who, at least for now, know nothing of what he suffered. Whatever the lingering effects, he bears them alone.

There is only one other boy he knows who was also molested by the same serial predator- and they are enemies by clique affiliation and never speak. For John, the nightmare seems over. He will soon discover how wrong he is.

As the hunt for the first missing child intensifies, a new student appears who focuses on John and the other victim, Vinnie, in a subtle but unmistakable way that gnaws at them. The new student, Lon, a loner and rebellious outsider, gradually reveals to both John and Vinnie what he knows about their past, and through a series of demands for confession and atonement, seeks to punish them for how he believes they failed to act in response to their victimization. He'll punish the town as well for its complicity in what "Big Jim" did to so many for so long. If they don't cooperate, they'll be exposed, and far worse.

As summer dies, the first boy is found in a shallow grave. More will follow; the town has a serial child killer in its midst.

John struggles to determine who Lon is and what he really wants, but he cannot turn to Vinnie, and opening himself up to his friends is yet unthinkable. In fact, his closest childhood friend might bear innocent responsibility for the abuse he suffered.

As fall and winter progress, Lon weaves a tighter and tighter noose around John and Vinnie, forcing them to commit acts of revenge against town leaders who may have been complicit in Kelly's acts. But it's not just Lon who John is trying desperately to outfox or at least outlive- it's an entire group now, each with secrets to hide at any cost, and a child murderer still unknown. And still busy.

What John must do, whom he must open up to at long last, and which corpses he must unearth, both literally and figuratively, in order to stop the madness around him is what drives this intense story to its heart-pounding conclusion.

In addition to its pace and rich character development, Copperhead Road features an eerie and remarkable sense of place; its setting is the Northern Virginia suburbs of the mid 1980's, pre-cell phone and pre-Internet, and will carry any reader back to a simpler but sometimes darker recent past. Please don't forget to check the "Look Inside" feature for more detail as well.

Author's note:
I am a former special victims prosecutor and myself a victim of chronic child sexual abuse. There are touches of my personal story in this book, but more an amalgamation of the thousands of stories I came face to face with while prosecuting and eventually consulting on child abuse cases worldwide. I remain in awe of every child who had the courage to work with my teams on the investigation and prosecution of the horror they endured. This book was written for all of them. And for every boy and girl still silent, helpless, and alone.

333 pages, with a 4.8-star rating from 31 reviews.

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Frozen Past (A Jaxon Jennings Novel), by Richard C Hale.

Praise for Amazon best-selling author Richard C Hale and his novel Frozen Past:

** "Hale captures emotion, seemingly effortlessly, and in turn this created reactions from me. During this read, I experienced a spectrum of emotion - anger, fear, and heartbreak to name a few. I even found myself "talking" to the characters more than once. When an author can elicit these reactions, I consider this a true talent." ~ Carolyn Arnold, Author of the Amazon best-selling Novel Ties That Bind

** "Mr. Hale's first thriller, NEAR DEATH, was an excellent debut novel but with FROZEN PAST, he's bounded to a new level of mystery and suspense. Don't let this one pass you by." ~ Chuck Barrett, AmazonBest-Selling Author of The SavannahProject and The Toymaker

Frozen Past - A Thriller

Luke is only fourteen. Eliana is his whole world and for a fourteen year old, the burden is immense. You see, Eliana is being stalked. Stalked by a madman who wants nothing more than to see her dead. The madman knows things that no one should know and sees things that no one should see. He tells them if they say a word to anyone, they will both die. And Luke can't let that happen.

Eliana's past is catching up with her and Luke must do anything to save her. Anything.

** "Richard Hale has the gift, to take you captivated from, page 1, until, you have run to the end, because, you couldn't bear to put it down." Lmartini

~ Be sure to read NEAR DEATH, Richard's debut novel. ~ For Jake Townsend, the loss was shattering. And every night for the past two years, he has relived the horror of what happened. The moonless night. The piercing screams. The horrific crash. The night his wife was taken from him. The last time he saw her alive.
He needs to speak with her. He may have found a way.

319 pages, with a -star rating from reviews.

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Finding Sarah (Pine Hills Police), by Terry Odell. (Still ?)

Being robbed at gunpoint wasn't part of Sarah Tucker's business plan. Neither was falling in love with the detective who arrived to solve the case.

All Sarah wants is success for her gift boutique, the one she and her husband created. Now, she's living a hand-to-mouth existence. Her husband died a year earlier in a car accident-an accident that was ruled suicide, denying her his life insurance money. Burdened by guilt that she was somehow to blame for his death, Sarah faces one business setback after another. Determined to succeed on her own, she fights off a meddling sister-in-law as well as offers of financial assistance from a former boyfriend. Unaware someone is setting her up for failure, she's totally unprepared to find herself fighting for survival.

Police Detective Randy Detweiler thinks the crook is a thief who's been evading cops all over the state. A routine robbery investigation turns into the biggest challenge of his career when he falls in love with the victim, and he starts crossing professional boundaries. When Sarah disappears, he's afraid all his detective skills might not be enough to find her in time to save her life.

Finding Sarah was previously published by Cerridwen Press. This version has been revised, updated, and includes some material not found in the original.

326 pages, with a -star rating from reviews.

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Dead on Demand (A DCI Morton Crime Novel), by Sean Campbell. (Still ?)

He had the perfect life. Now he'll kill to get it back.

A career man, Edwin Murphy has always put more effort into his work than his family. Everything changes for Edwin when his wife files for divorce. On the brink of losing his home, his job and his daughter, Edwin orchestrates an intricate plan to eliminate his wife and regain his former lifestyle.

The police are baffled when bodies begin to appear all over London with no apparent connection between them. Detective Chief Inspector David Morton must think outside the box as he investigates the deadly web of deceit behind the murders.

This title is not recommended for under 18s due to violent themes.

356 pages, with a -star rating from reviews.

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