Riveting, fast-paced, and filled with twists and turns, No Sanctuary by F.M. Meredith is a crime fiction reader's dream.
Officer Stacey Wilbur is the first on the scene of a one-car accident. A green Toyota has smashed into an oak tree and the female driver is dead. But it soon becomes obvious that the accident is a cover up for murder.
The victim is the wife of a popular local minister, and her preacher husband soon becomes the most likely suspect. Gossip in town tells of trouble in their marriage, but as Stacey and Doug start putting pieces together, they find several other likely suspects who could have wanted Mallory Cookmeyer dead.
Called away from the case to work on a special assignment, Stacey is faced with decisions that will impact her career and her budding romance with Doug Milligan, and most likely, put her in harms way.
When we last heard from Stacey Wilbur in Smell of Death, she had broken her long-standing rule of never dating anyone she works with and entered into a relationship with Doug. This gives an already strong character even more depth. A widow, she has been caring for her son Davey with the help of her parents, while trying to juggle a challenging and dangerous career. Having lost her husband in the line of duty, a relationship with Doug offers similiar dangers, but it's really their difficult work schedules that make nurturing their relationship tough on Doug and Stacey.
One of the things that Meredith does best with the Rocky Bluff P.D. series is show not only the official side to her characters, but also how working in law enforcement impacts these people's lives--not just the members of the police force, but also their families. I could easily see these books being turned into a television crime series.
Meredith is also wise in making each one truly a stand alone book. These stories focus on different members of the Rocky Bluff P.D. These aren't just Stacey's stories; they are Doug's, Gordon Butler's, Abel Navarro's, Rick Strickland's, and others who are or were part of the Rocky Bluff P.D.
There are many twists and turns in No Sanctuary, as the reader is led to believe it might be the husband, but then it might be someone on his staff or someone from the church. And this mystery propels the story forward to an exciting and satisfying conclusion.
As with Smell of Death--which we reviewed here--Meredith breaks up all the seriousness with a bit of humor. This time it is mostly brought on by Officer Gordon Butler who rents a room from Doug and who happens to walk in on Doug and Stacey at the worst times. In addition, the banter between Doug and Stacey about the outfit she chooses for her special assignment lightens things up and makes the reader want to see more of these two together in the future.
A fast and suspense-filled read for crime lovers. Pick up a copy of No Sanctuary today!
Title: No Sanctuary Author: F.M. Meredith Publisher: Oak Tree Press ISBN: 978-1-892343-55-0 SRP: $12.95 (US)