Paper Chase Farms, 2003 (2003)
Reviewed by Sally Selvadurai
urder, romance, foxhunting, kidnapping -
has it all! The author has managed, in her first novel, to bring it all together in a very readable book and her characters and situations ring true to life.
oug Cummings is a wealthy tax lawyer. He practices out of a Washington, DC firm but spends a huge amount of time in his family home of Hunting Hollow, a large horse farm outside Middleburg, Virginia. Doug regularly rides with the hunt and is a well-respected and upstanding member of the community, sitting on many local boards and trusts. Doug's life changes in an instant when his ex-girlfriend dies in what was originally seen as a freak hunting accident but which is subsequently deemed to be murder - with Doug as the main suspect. In the following days there are three more murders and Doug always seems to be the last person to speak with or see the victim.
ill the community stand behind Doug? Will the gossip hurt his law practice? Will the redneck sheriff's Deputy, Clyde Dickson, who is convinced beyond a doubt of Doug's guilt, manage to convict him? Will the beautiful criminal lawyer, Anne Sullivan, be able to maintain her demeanour even as she's falling hopelessly in love with her handsome client? Will little Samantha Remington, Anne's ward and Doug's favourite youngster, survive her ordeal?
an Neuharth has managed to evoke the beauty of the Virginia countryside. Also, through her characterizations, she gives the reader insight into an interesting cross-section of personalities who inhabit the area, from the wealthy, snooty types, through those who actively dislike and resent their
neighbours to those who are still just plain racist. These characterizations add
to her novel, making it a believable and interesting read. The surprise ending leaves the way open for a follow-up that we should keep an eye out for.
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