Reviewed by: BigAl
Approximate word count: 70-75,000 words
Kindle US: YES UK: YES Nook: YES Smashwords: YES Paper: YES
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The daughter of an English teacher and a minister, Melinda Clayton became a psychotherapist and an author. She has worked as an advocate for abused women, children, and those with developmental disabilities. However, she says her biggest accomplishment is her children, who are “amazing, cool, fun little people.” She has another book available, Appalachian Justice. For more, visit her blog.
We first met Jessie in Appalachian Justice. Now a successful Hollywood film producer, she has helped establish a wilderness retreat on top of Crutcher Mountain. When a series of strange events happens at the retreat, Jessie returns to West Virginia and finds more than she expected.
When I discovered that Melinda Clayton had written a sequel to Appalachian Justice, I wondered where the story might go. That it would center on Jessie, the main supporting character from Appalachian Justice, seemed a reasonable guess, but I couldn’t imagine what the strong emotional hooks that were present in the first book might be. It turns out that the struggle Jessie has in Return to Crutcher Mountain is much different from what she and Billy May experienced previously. The sequel is not even of the same genre, with the follow up being suspense instead of contemporary fiction, like the original.
I found that a suspense novel could still pack some emotional punch. As Jessie deals with issues from her past and works to find the cause of the strange happenings at the wilderness retreat, the site of her childhood home, she experiences plenty of emotional upheaval. Then, when the book hits its climax and the mystery of what has been going on is uncovered, Jessie finds something she never dreamed, and Clayton delivers another emotional knockout. While significantly different from Appalachian Justice, Clayton still tells a great story.
While I would advise reading Appalachian Justice first (it is an excellent book), reading this one as a standalone should be okay. The downside is that reading this first might be a spoiler for some of what happens in the prior book.
No significant issues.
Rating: **** Four stars