Blue Creek’s “golden girl” is gone.
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.
Five Star Review on Amazon By J Simmons
This series is amazing, I love all the characters, plot, and I really felt the emotions in the story!! This is very well written and gives detailed insight so you really understand everything that is happening!! I honestly love the ending, it made me smile.
About the Author
AR Simmons is a native of the Courtois Hills region of the eastern Missouri Ozarks. A country boy, he actually attended a one-room school, and he did walk a mile to and from school (although not in the snow and uphill both ways). His parents were factory workers, and the family worked a subsistence farm on land cleared from the native forest by his grandfather.
Before college, he worked as a carpenter’s helper and a factory worker before doing a stint in the Army, including a tour of duty in Vietnam. His military experience provided an invaluable opportunity to see a world far 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 was varied. The men came from every quarter of the land. This diversity changed forever his concept of “American.”
His military service earned him GI Bill benefits, which 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.” To his amazement, it was a calling suited him.
He began writing sci-fi short stories, but he gradually turned to the suspense novels which he always enjoyed reading. In 2003, he began serializing his novels on-line. Today, he and his wife still live on the farm his grandfather settled. His roots (four generations deep) are in the Ozarks where the Richard Carter series is set. 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.
Some favorite authors: Solomon, Shakespeare, Cervantes, Mark Twain, Francis Parkman, Joseph Conrad, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Frank Herbert, Dashiell Hammett, James Lee Burke, Tony Hillerman, Faye Kellerman, Jonathan Kellerman, Isabel Allende, and Herman Wouk.
Favorite story: “Youth” by Joseph Conrad. Favorite poem: Kipling’s “If.” Favorite movie: O Brother Where Art Thou. Favorite literary characters: Huck Finn, Antigone, and Don Quixote.
Once a hobbyist programmer, he now is an addicted tweeter and an inconsistent webmaster. He loves chess (favors the French Defense), golf (once a scratch player), reading, writing, and imagining. Other passions include rescue dogs (Shady and Cookie), baseball (Cardinals), ethnic cuisine (Hispanic, Italian, Szechuan, and fusion), local history and geography, and stories about real people doing heroic things (rather than super heroic people doing unreal things.)