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Spider Mountain    by P. T. Deutermann order for
Spider Mountain
by P. T. Deutermann
Order:  USA  Can
St. Martin's, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, Audio, CD
* * *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

Spider Mountain is not exactly an idyllic vacation destination. The locale seems beautiful and innocent enough, hidden away in western North Carolina and surrounded by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but Spider Mountain is home to some rather singular people, especially the Creigh Clan.

The Creighs - with Grinny Creigh as the not-so-maternal matriarch - have their own rules. And even though the law enforcement officials understand that plenty of questionable activity goes on up on Spider Mountain, including some problems with methamphetamine production, time and experience have proven to local observers that the most dangerous kinds of 'evil can get loose in the {Creigh Clan's little corner of the} backcountry from time to time.'

Now, in fact, something much more disturbing and dangerous is going on with the Creighs up on Spider Mountain. Janey Howard, a park service ranger, had been brutally assaulted by two men when she tried to stop them from hanging a man. When a park service ecologist, Mary Ellen Goode, discovers that Howard's attackers (and the presumed hangmen) are still on the loose (but not being aggressively pursued by local authorities), she calls upon her old friend Cam Richter for help.

Formerly a sheriff's deputy from the region but now a private investigator - having changed career paths because of provocative problems in his past - Cam willingly responds to the challenge in Mary Ellen's request for help. Soon, though, Cam realizes that much more is at stake than what happened to Janey Howard. In fact, something dark and sinister has been happening on Spider Mountain. Now, Cam and other local and federal law enforcements officials - at least those who aren't already either corrupted by or intimidated by the Creighs - must move quickly in order to stop one of the most gruesome criminal enterprises imaginable.

Filled to overflowing with roller-coaster excitement and fascinating characterizations, Spider Mountain is one of those you-can't-put-it-down thrillers. Readers will certainly enjoy this terrifying tale from an accomplished master of suspense and mystery, but it is almost certain that readers won't be too eager either to set foot on Spider Mountain or to ever run into any of the Creighs. It's nice to know that this is all simply fiction. Isn't it? Well?

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