Trisha moved from Chicago to the small Pennsylvania slate town when she was ten years old. She moved there with her mother and Lester, her stepfather, who was an abusive drunk.
She quickly made friends with two girls from her street, Carlyn and Danielle. The three girls were friends for years and called themselves “The Slate Sisters”.
When Lester’s abuse takes a step too far, Tricia defends herself – and will come to live with the consequences playing on her psyche for the rest of her life. She distances herself from her friends, and they seem to abandon her as well.
She moves to Las Vegas where she steps out of the frying pan directly into the fire. She suffered years of degradation and abuse at the hands of her wealthy husband and became an alcoholic.
Then, three decades later, bones are found in the cold Pennsylvania woods near Trisha’s old home and she comes back to the town, and her Mother.
The second in the Northampton County series, “Cold Woods” is a police procedural with serious themes of domestic abuse, alcoholism, and guilt. The pacing was faultless, and the descriptions well rendered.
Detective Parker Reed, was everything one could hope for in a protagonist, and as a policeman. His new partner Geena Brassard, was a welcome addition to the dynamic. I was sort of disappointed that Parker’s girlfriend Becca didn’t play much of a role in this novel, as I was quite taken with her in the first novel in the series, “The River Girls”.
One thing I really appreciated about this novel is that all assumptions the reader makes turn out to be false. Secrets carried an enormous weight on the characters involved. A crushing weight…
The narrative was told in chapters alternating from the present police investigation and the winter of 1986 when the girls were teenagers.
This is a crime novel but also a character study. It is a story of dysfunctional families, secrets, and moral dilemmas. I am eager now to read the next book in this series. Overall, “Cold Woods” was a novel that I savored reading and that I can highly recommend!
I purchased “Cold Woods” in Kindle format from Amazon.ca in order to pursue the Northampton series. You can read my review of “River Bodies”, the first title in this series HERE.
Karen Katchur is an award-winning suspense novelist with a bachelor of science in criminal justice and a master’s in education. She lives in eastern Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.