Harvest House Publishing
Author Susan Meissner continues her theme of the innocent guilty in her second Rachael Flynn Mystery novel, Sticks & Stones. When Rachael receives a letter predicting that construction workers would uncover a body, she finds herself inevitably entwined in solving a 20-year-old mystery. Who was this teenage bully? How did he die? What were the events that led to his death? How did he become the victim of his own victims? And who is the mysterious letter writer? As Rachael helps tighten the net, her eyes are opened to the plight of the mercilessly bullied child.
Meissner excels at characterization. Each character—and there are many—is distinct, with main characters being very memorable. Even the comic relief characters are deep. Sticks & Stones is suspenseful because Meissner unveils her characters so deftly. The characterization moves the story along. Unlike most modern mysteries, this investigation deals very little with physical evidence and deals almost solely with people.
On the flipside, CSI fans will be disappointed. Sticks & Stones is not a fast-paced, cutting-edge investigation. After the first few chapters, it’s Rachael’s intuition, not investigative science, that starts solving the mystery. For some, the characterization alone won’t be enough.
But Rachael herself may be the biggest problem in Sticks & Stones. Although she is an appealing character for an audience of middle-aged female readers, her entire involvement with the case is unrealistic. She provides an interesting viewpoint, but she remains a random outsider. Unlike the first book, she is not personally or professionally involved. And as a county prosecutor, no matter how sympathetic, the likelihood of her receiving tip letters is doubtful. Furthermore, her domination of the case and her flawless hunches weaken the book’s credibility.
Even so, Meissner poignantly illustrates an uncommon viewpoint—the perspective of the bullied child. Sticks & Stones demonstrates the serious implications of bullying, the value of innocence, and the satisfaction of learning the truth. – Rose Rider, Christian Book Previews.com
Lawyer Rachael Flynn has only been at her new job in the Ramsey County attorney's office for four months when she receives an unsigned letter with the startling message.
Two days later the predicted body is found, but to everyone's astonishment, the remains have been buried for at least 20 years. When the body is identified as that of a 15-year-old boy, the police begin to dig for clues. Rachael continues to receive anonymous notes ...and the questions keep coming...
Was it really an accident, or was it murder? Why has it taken so many years for the story to come to light? And why did the young man "deserve" to die?
As Rachael searches out the identity of the writer, she finds herself drawn to the neighborhood where the body was found--and to an abandoned house that no longer exists, but seems to call out to her nonetheless...