A Valley to Die For
Radine Trees Nehring
St. Kitts Press, April 2002
From the publisher—
Carrie McCrite and her husband, Amos, had dreamed of retiring to a home in the Ozark mountains. After Amos dies in a hunting accident, Carrie decides to go ahead with their dream, but alone. She needs to be someone – to prove she’s a capable woman who can take care of herself. Carrie meets neighbor JoAnne Harrington, a man-hater who certainly provides an example of female independence. And there are important things to do when a stone quarry threatens to turn part of their beloved valley into heaps of gravel. The two women and their neighbors band together to fight for their valley. But someone decides JoAnne must die. Grieving over JoAnne’s death, Carrie feels compelled to uncover and destroy the mystery and darkness now swirling in the valley. That’s what a strong woman would do. Then Carrie’s new neighbor, retired Kansas City Police Major, Henry King, warns her that she, and not JoAnne, may have been the killer’s real target. But that’s ridiculous – isn’t it? And Henry is hiding secrets of his own. How strong can Carrie be? How much danger can she survive? It’s time to find out.
Years ago, when my now ex-husband was in the Air Force and our first daughter was a baby, we were stationed for a while in Bossier City, Louisiana. This was new territory for us native Virginians and we enjoyed doing the tourist thing in Louisiana and surrounding states. The one significant trip we never had the chance to make was to the Ozarks in Arkansas. I was especially interested in that area because I’d heard that it was very similar to our own very distinctive Appalachian Mountains, a place I’d loved to visit on camping vacations since I was a child. Alas, Air Force pay in 1970 and 1971 was not robust enough to allow us to indulge all of our travel urges, not to mention the AF’s desire to keep my husband close to base.
Now that I’ve read A Valley to Die For, I feel as though a void has been at least partially filled. Ms. Nehring‘s descriptions of the valley where Carrie and her friends live are enticing to anyone with an interest in a mountain environment and I could easily visualize Carrie’s surroundings. The beauty of the Ozarks comes through with all the peace and serenity, as well as the natural dangers, that are to be found there.
As for the characters who live in the valley, I have to say I wouldn’t mind calling them neighbors. There is a great deal to be said in favor of rural or small town living although, in my younger days, the very prospect of moving to a town with a population of about 1,500 pretty much curdled my brain. Anyway, folks like Carrie and Henry and their friends are a likeable bunch and their zeal to stop the quarry is a natural reaction to the threat to their beautiful valley. And wouldn’t it be nice to know that someone would actually notice—without being annoyingly nosy—if your routine changed or you didn’t answer the phone or you didn’t show up for a meeting? Yes, I like these people and I like the way they look out for each other. Oh, and I’m in love with FatCat.
As for the mystery, it’s a good one without being overly elaborate. I had my suspicions early on about who the killer might be and, as it turned out, I was right but that certainly didn’t interfere with my enjoyment of the story. I had to get to the reveal before knowing for sure and other reviewers have said they didn’t figure it out early so this debut mystery was certainly nicely done. I’m looking forward to catching up with the rest of the series.
Now all I have to do is figure out a way to get to the Ozarks to see them for myself.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, June 2012.
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