Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Shadow's Keep by Meghan O'Flynn

Shadow's Keep
by Meghan O'Flynn
Genre: Crime Thriller
Shadow's Keep
by Meghan O'Flynn
Genre: Crime Thriller


Dark and intense, with an M. Night Shyamalan-level twist.”
~Kristen Mae, bestselling author of the Conch Garden series

Deputy Sheriff William Shannahan doesn’t feel like a detective, at least not like the ones he admires on TV. Not that he needs to be; the small town of Graybel, Mississippi, is a peaceful place, with acres of farmland, neighbors who always take care of their own, and noise from the outside world muted by a hundred miles of forest.

That silence is about to be broken.

When a child is found dead in the woods, the medical examiner deems it a dog attack. But the paw prints belong to something far larger than any creature in the Mississippi forests, and what animal would remove the victim’s eyes? Though no one believes him, William can’t shake the feeling that a human killer lurks in the shadowed woods.

And his girlfriend, Cassie, has a son the same age as the victim.

Cassie Parker was raised amid horrors she’s long pushed from her mind, but her scars won’t let her forget. Nor do the hallucinations, dreams so vivid she can feel and smell and taste them. And no one is more terrified than Cassie when another victim is found mauled to death—because this body has been drained of blood. She knows exactly what type of person would sacrifice a child, and why they’re after hers. But how can she explain it to William?

This is William’s chance to act like a detective, to protect the woman and child he’s desperate to save. Pushing back against prejudice and presumption, he uncovers a trail of cruelty that spans decades, but each clue brings him closer to a truth more horrifying than killer beasts in the forest. For concealed beneath small-town politics is knowledge that will shatter everything he knows to be true about his town—and the people in it.

A compulsively readable thriller in the vein of CujoThe Girl on the Train, and M. Night Shyamalan’s The VillageShadow’s Keep is a mind-bending exploration of obsession, desperation, and how far we’ll go to protect those we love.

. It was a good day to turn forty-two, he decided. He might not be the best-looking guy around, but he had his health. And there was a woman whom he adored, even if she wasn’t sure about him yet.
William didn’t blame her. He probably didn’t deserve her, but he’d surely try to convince her that he did, like he had with Marianna…though he didn’t think weird card tricks would help this time. But weird was what he had. Without it, he was just background noise, part of the wallpaper of this small town, and at forty-one—no, forty-two, now—he was running out of time to start over.
He was pondering this when he rounded the bend and saw the feet. Pale soles barely bigger than his hand, poking from behind a rust-colored boulder that sat a few feet from the edge of the trail. He stopped, his heart throbbing an erratic rhythm in his ears.
Please let it be a doll". But he saw the flies buzzing around the top of the boulder. Buzzing. Buzzing.
William crept forward along the path, reaching for his hip where his gun usually sat, but he touched only cloth. The dried yellow paint scratched his thumb. He thrust his hand into his pocket for his lucky coin. No quarter. Only his phone.
William approached the rock, the edges of his vision dark and unfocused as if he were looking through a telescope, but in the dirt around the stone he could make out deep paw prints. Probably from a dog or a coyote, though these were enormous—nearly the size of a salad plate, too big for anything he’d expect to find in these woods. He frantically scanned the underbrush, trying to locate the animal, but saw only a cardinal appraising him from a nearby branch.
Someone’s back there, someone needs my help.
He stepped closer to the boulder. Please don’t let it be what I think it is. Two more steps and he’d be able to see beyond the rock, but he could not drag his gaze from the trees where he was certain canine eyes were watching. Still nothing there save the shaded bark of the surrounding woods. He took another step—cold oozed from the muddy earth into his shoe and around his left ankle, like a hand from the grave.
William stumbled, pulling his gaze from the trees just in time to see the boulder rushing at his head and then he was on his side in the slimy filth to the right of the boulder, next to…
Oh god, oh god, oh god.
William had seen death in his twenty years as a deputy, but usually it was the result of a drunken accident, a car wreck, an old man found dead on his couch.
This was not that. The boy was no more than six, probably less. He lay on a carpet of rotting leaves, one arm draped over his chest, legs splayed haphazardly as if he, too, had tripped in the muck. But this wasn’t an accident; the boy’s throat was torn, jagged ribbons of flesh peeled back, drooping on either side of the muscle meat, the unwanted skin on a Thanksgiving turkey. Deep gouges permeated his chest and abdomen, black slashes against mottled green flesh, the wounds obscured behind his shredded clothing and bits of twigs and leaves.
William scrambled backward, clawing at the ground, his muddy shoe kicking the child’s ruined calf, where the boy’s shy white bones peeked from under congealing blackish tissue. The legs looked…chewed on.

Meghan O'Flynn is a clinical therapist, writer, artist, wife, and mom. She adores her amazing little boys, dark chocolate, tea, dirty jokes, and back rubs with no strings attached, in that order. Meghan is the bestselling author of The Jilted, Shadow's Keep, and the Ash Park series--which includes Famished, Conviction, Repressed, Hidden and Redemption--and has penned a number of short stories including "Crimson Snow" and "Alien Landscape." She is frankly amazed that her wonderful husband still agrees to live with her after reading them and even more shocked that he seems to sleep soundly.

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