Book Review: Dead of Spring by Sherry Knowlton

I was glad to return to the world of Alexa Williams–along with all her usual legal and dangerous sleuthing and quest to combat human trafficking. Since Dead of Spring involved scandals related to fracking in Pennsylvania, I thought this would be an appropriate review for the week of Earth Day.

If you are new to the series, check out my review of Dead of Autumn and Dead of Summer

The novel starts with action almost right away: the death of Senator Martinelli. As usual, Alexa is in the horribly wrong place at just the wrong time, and she witnesses his body plummet to the floor. I’ll admit the imagery in that first scene gripped me and brought me once again into Alexa’s world.

The main conflict revolves around fracking and a slew of corruption. As a side quest. Alexa is helping her friend, whose young daughter’s cancer is taxing the family’s resources and emotions, and it’s thought to be linked to improper procedures followed by a company harvesting resources from the family’s land–procedures that killed the family dog.

Interspersed within those chapters are episodes from 1979 with the incident at TMI (Three Mile Island, for those not familiar), during which there was a partial nuclear meltdown. I enjoy the contrast of all these dire environmental intrusions with the peace of Alexa’s wilderness retreat.

Which is my favorite part of the novel. As I have said of Dead of Autumn and Dead of Summer, I enjoy being pulled into Alexa’s life. She’s busy, tired, frightened, and brave, and she’s always trying to do the right thing. With the description of her cozy wooded cabin, her dog Scout, and her boyfriend (I won’t spoil who in case you haven’t read the first two books), I feel like I’m escaping into her life–from details about her law firm to details about what she’s eating or what yoga pose she’s contemplating.

The novels is a fast and enjoyable read. I learned much about fracking and other environmental issues, both benefits and consequences, while enjoying more of the life of Alexa Williams.

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No good deed goes unpunished when freshman Steffie Brenner offers to give her awkward new neighbor a ride home after her first day at school. When her older sister Ali stops at a local park to apply for a job, Steffie and Madison slip out of the car to explore the park—and Madison vanishes. Already in trouble for a speeding ticket, Ali insists that Steffie say nothing about Madison’s disappearance. Even when Madison’s mother comes looking for her. Even when the police question them. Some secrets are hard to hide, though—especially with Madison’s life on the line. As she struggles between coming clean or going along with her manipulative sister’s plan, Steffie begins to question if she or anyone else is really who she thought they were. After all, the Steffie she used to know would never lie about being the last person to see Madison alive—nor would she abandon a friend in the woods: alone, cold, injured, or even worse. But when Steffie learns an even deeper secret about her own past, a missing person seems like the least of her worries…

Speaking of Earth Day… check out Barking Rain Press’s Spring Fling Sale. From April 30-May 14, ebooks are just $2.99. This includes my newest release, a tale of a high school freshman who finds life in the wilderness easier than navigating the manipulations of her scheming sister–or confronting the truth of her past:

Available in ebook or paperback at Amazon and other ebook retailers.

No good deed goes unpunished when freshman Steffie Brenner offers to give her awkward new neighbor a ride home after her first day at school. When her older sister Ali stops at a local park to apply for a job, Steffie and Madison slip out of the car to explore the park—and Madison vanishes.

 
Already in trouble for a speeding ticket, Ali insists that Steffie say nothing about Madison’s disappearance. Even when Madison’s mother comes looking for her. Even when the police question them.

 
Some secrets are hard to hide, though—especially with Madison’s life on the line. As she struggles between coming clean or going along with her manipulative sister’s plan, Steffie begins to question if she or anyone else is really who she thought they were. After all, the Steffie she used to know would never lie about being the last person to see Madison alive—nor would she abandon a friend in the woods: alone, cold, injured, or even worse.

 
But when Steffie learns an even deeper secret about her own past, a missing person seems like the least of her worries…