Shadow Mountain holds a secret. Either there is some mysterious healer who lurks in the woods there, or there is an evil killer who preys on the terminally ill.
Hart has come home to bury his father and has no idea that the serial killer he is tracking in his own town has its roots in the very spot he grew up. Not only that, but Hart’s own life is in danger, and something or someone wants him out of the picture so they can continue their killing spree. But there are so many questions Hart must contend with first. For instance, what about the mysterious marks on the necks of the deceased? Why is the local myth about a bogeyman living in the mountains beginning to seem like a realistic possibility? Too many loose ends plague the case that Hart has invested himself in and he needs to unravel this mystery fast or lose his life and the lives of those he holds dear.
Fated by Indra Vaughn is a slow building mystery that revolves around a quiet detective who tries his best to save others often at the expense of his own well being. Hart is an intensely private man who secretly loves a college age friend whom he feels he is too old for and too unworthy of as well. While trying to bury his estranged father, Hart’s case breaks wide-open and becomes more complicated by the second. Soon enough he is the target of whatever or whoever is miraculously healing seemingly random people and then murdering them. So, while they may get a stay of death for the moment, eventually they succumb to a death often more macabre or strange.
Time is running out for Hart and his partner, Freddie. With each step closer to his father’s funeral, Hart is convinced his father knew whom the killer or killers are and it is up to him to unravel the secrets in his father’s files to catch the murderer. Along the way, Hart succumbs to a brief affair with the local surgeon, only to finally figure out that it is that boy back home who has his heart all locked up. In the end, Hart fears he may not be able to save either of them.
At first glance, this mystery seemed to be a bit off-pace. I felt as though the build up to the real action took a long time, but once I was in the thick of this novel, I realized how important that moderate pacing was for the overall success of this taut and knuckle biting story. Much like the character of Hart himself, this novel moved at just the right speed for us to get to know the complexities of the case and of Hart’s inner turmoil. Bereft over the fact that after his mother’s death he and his father grew apart, Hart is a cauldron of emotions—ones that will lead him to make poor decisions before the murderer forces him to choose the right ones.
Also for you happy ever after readers, be forewarned, there is definitely the idea of a happy ever after, but no guarantees of one. In fact the sequel to this novel seems to hint that Hart may yet lose the one he loves unless he is willing to make a deal that could cost him everything.
I really enjoyed this story. This is the first book by this author for me, but I can assure you it will not be the last. If you are a fan of clever and well layered mystery novels ,then Fated by Indra Vaughn should be on your must buy list this year.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.