Book & Author Details:
The Daughter by A. R. Simmons
(The Richard Carter Novels #10)
Publication date: March 11th 2015
Genres: Crime, Thriller, Suspense
Two days ago, Shara McGregor, the girl whose face adorns the junior college billboard on the highway, headed west to Springfield. A bright future lay ahead. After she completed her undergraduate degree, her mentor, former State Senator Willis Sparkes would pull the right strings to get her into a good law school. Despite her humble origins, the small-town girl seemed destined to be among the “movers and shakers.” However, Shara never made it to Springfield.
Yesterday, two counties away, three drunken teenagers found her car hidden in the woods near an abandoned cemetery in the Irish Wilderness area. Having lost the keys to their own car, they “borrowed” it to go home for another key. When a deputy stopped them, he found blood in the car—lots of blood.
Since the girl came from Blue Creek, Hawthorn County has jurisdiction. Deputy Richard Carter begins what he assumes will be a short investigation. After all, this wasn’t criminal genius at work—or was it?
The more he learns about the girl, the more Richard becomes emotionally involved. She seems one of his own, one of the “good people.” The obsessive-compulsive ex-Marine pours his soul into the investigation, spurred by an irrational fear that something similar could happen to his own seven-year-old daughter Mirabelle someday.
Except for Shara’s blood in the car, there is no physical evidence: no murder weapon, no crime scene, no body, and no one with a motive. There are no suspects and no motive. Everyone liked the girl, and she had no history of high-risk behavior. What happened to her shouldn’t have. She wasn’t that kind of girl.
Don’t imagine that everyone in a small town knows everything about everyone else. There are secrets. And there is evil to match anything in the wider world.
If Shara had a secret that cost her life, what was it?
Maybe it was someone else’s secret.
This is the first book I have read by this author and it is very apparent from reading this book, that a lot has gone on in the previous 9 volumes. That said, I didn’t feel that it impacted on the plot line of this tale, only that I wasn’t as familiar with the main cast of characters as I would otherwise have been.
The narrative style of the author is such that this book was told in a straightforward, yet detailed manner, which kept the tension at a steady level. The manner in which the tale unfolded before me was measured and consistent, and this readily raised suspicions in my mind about the motives of certain characters which later had to be discounted
The final twist in the conclusion was definitely one which I didn’t see coming, and elevated the entire story, making me revisit some of the character interactions.
Overall, a satisfying read.
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.
AR Simmons was born on Chicago’s north side, but grew up in the Courtois Hills region of the eastern Missouri Ozarks. He grew up on a gravel road and attended a one-room school through the eighth grade. His father and mother were factory workers, but the whole family also worked a subsistence farm on land cleared from the native forest by his grandfather.
The first small step from the insular rural life came when he went to the high school in town where each class numbered around 500. Following graduation, he worked as a carpenter and factory worker, and then went into the Army. A tour of duty took him to the Far East where
he saw a world very different from his own. Perhaps even more importantly, it allowed him to become acquainted with his country. The racial, ethnic, and cultural makeup of his squad mates changed forever his concept of “American.”
The GI Bill financed his entire college career. After declaring and rejecting majors in Business (lacked interest) and Art (passably talented, but color blind), he settled on History, in which he obtained BA and MA degrees. Passing up a doctoral program (he was 27, married, and had no job), he took a public school teaching position “until something better came along.” He discovered, to his amazement, that the calling suited him. Thirty years of teaching in a hill school immersed him in the contemporary Ozark culture, the setting of his stories.
He began writing shortly after he started teaching (supplemental essays on the history of technology and on foreign policy). He began writing fiction with short science fiction stories, but gravitated to the mystery/suspense novels which he now writes exclusively. Some ten years ago (2003), he began serializing his novels on-line. In 2013, he published the first of his Richard Carter novels as an e-book. As of 2016, there were ten books in the series.
Today, he and his wife live on the Ozark farm his grandfather settled. His roots (four generations deep) are in the Ozarks. Using the culture, language, and mores of this “Bible Belt” region, he writes culturally immersive stories of obsession set amidst the small-town and rural life that he knows.