Get Blog Posts Via Email

View RSS Feed


DARK NIGHT by Paige Shelton: Book Review

Beth Rivers is still living in Benedict, Alaska, the most remote place she can find.  After surviving a traumatic abduction seven months earlier and with her kidnapper remaining on the loose, Beth fled from her home in Missouri to this tiny town that is almost off the grid, hoping that Travis Walker will never find her.  So far he hasn’t, but her fear of him is never far from the surface of her mind.

She has a made a life for herself, or at least a sort of life, because Benedict is a place where she feels safe.  Only the police chief, Gril Samuels, knows Beth’s backstory, and it was his suggestion that she stay at Benedict House, a halfway house for women felons.  Although Beth hasn’t told Viola, the woman who runs the House, what brought her to the town, Viola takes no nonsense from anyone, and Beth knows she can count on Viola to have her back.

But even in a town as small as this one, there are secrets that its citizens don’t want uncovered.  That may explain the attitude of some residents toward the census taker.  Doug Vintner is asking questions that people feel are none of his business–like how old they are, what their occupation is, how many people live in their house.  Seemingly innocuous questions to most people, but not to everyone, Beth in particular.  “Dodge him…don’t give him answers if you can avoid it,” is the advice she’s given, and she plans to take it.

As Beth and some friends are sitting in the town’s only bar, the door bursts open and a distraught woman rushes in.  Claudia has been beaten, with one of her eyes swollen and her forehead bloody.  Not for the first time, she’s run away from her husband, and not for the first time she tells Beth and the others, “It’s not his fault.”  As Claudia attempts to excuse Ned, she says her husband was fine until the census taker came to their house and started asking too many questions.  The one that set Ned off was Vintner asking how many people were in the house.

It turns out that Ned’s sister Lucy, a fugitive, was hiding in the adjacent shed, a fact known only to Claudia and Ned.  She’s wanted by the Juneau police, but due to the inclement weather the police are unable to get her on the ferry to return to the city.  Because of the abusive relationship between Claudia and Ned, Lucy has been remanded to Viola’s custody until the ferry is running again.  So she’s staying at Benedict House when news comes that her brother Ned has been killed.

In the midst of all this, Beth’s mother arrives without warning.  The two have a difficult relationship, mostly because of her mother’s rather checkered past, but she and Beth are now doing their best to work together to make certain that Travis Walker doesn’t come to Benedict.  Mill is fearless and determined to protect her daughter, but her decisions are not always well-thought-out or well-received, both by Beth and the town’s police chief.

This is the third book in the Alaska Wild series, and Paige Shelton continues to give her readers an excellent plot and realistic characters.  She is the author of four other mystery series and several stand-alones.  You can read more about her at this website.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her website.  In addition to book review posts, there are sections featuring Golden OldiesPast Masters and Mistresses, and an About Marilyn column that features her opinions about everything to do with mystery novels.

Leave a Reply