Friday, October 31, 2014

Crybaby Falls - Paula Graves (HI #1522 - Oct 2014)

Series: The Gates (Book 2)

For twenty years, Cain Dennison has been haunted by the death of a young, pregnant girl found murdered at Crybaby Falls. Determined to finally discover the truth and lay the past to rest, Cain quickly discovers he's not the only one looking for answers. Crossing paths with Sara Lindsey at the very spot that has caused so much pain, Cain is stunned to discover an instant and dangerous attraction flaring between them. Their shared goal of finding answers only fuels their passion -- and enrages a killer. Before long, they stumble across information that could affect everyone in this small Tennessee town…and bring the real culprit right to their doorstep.

Very good book. Cain has come back to his hometown to take a job with The Gates investigation firm. His first assignment is to investigate a murder that has haunted him for twenty years. Renee Lindsey had been a high school friend. He would have liked more, but she was involved with someone else. Cain had been a loner in school, with an abusive father that made his life miserable. Cain had been a suspect in Renee's death, but as there was no evidence, he soon left town to join the army and make a new life for himself. He was surprised to be assigned this case because many people in town still think he's guilty, so he doesn't expect to get much cooperation in his search for clues.

Sara Lindsey's husband was Renee's brother and had been obsessed with finding the truth about her death. Three years earlier he had died in an accident that had left Sara with no memories of the day it had happened, just lots of questions. She has left her job as a detective with the Birmingham police to come home and decide what to do with her life. She is also ready to look for answers of her own. She is surprised to find Cain at Crybaby Falls at the same time she is, and not too pleased to discover that he's asking the same kinds of questions.

I liked both Cain and Sara. Both are intelligent, determined people, intent on finding out the truth. There is an immediate and intense attraction between them that both are determined to resist. First, neither wants the distraction from their main purpose. Secondly, neither sees a relationship as a possibility. Sara hasn't been interested in anyone since her husband's death and really never expected to be. Cain has never allowed himself to get close to anyone, feeling that he's too damaged to make a good bet for anyone. But as they agree to work with each other to find answers to their questions, they discover a sense of rightness together. Not to say that they didn't still have issues to overcome. Sara is afraid to get involved again and it takes a life threatening event to get her past that. Cain has to get over letting his past dictate his future, but Sara's support goes a long way toward that. I enjoyed the epilogue and really hope to see more of them in future books to see the progression of their relationship.

The suspense and mystery of the story was good. With Sara's loss of memory and the age of the murder case, it wasn't going to be an easy fix. I liked the realism of the trouble that Cain would have because of his history with the town, but also that he was determined to succeed. As Cain and Sara worked together, I liked the way that each of them brought different viewpoints. The intensity went up as their investigation brought them closer to the killer. As they closed in on the identity, there was quite an interesting twist. The final confrontation was pretty intense, and I loved Sara's ability to stay calm and in control. 

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