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After a tragic exile in England, Gale Grayson returns with her daughter to her southern roots, only to find eccentric relatives—and a decades-old scandal alive and well. They’d been talking about Gale’s Aunt Linnie since 1925, when she was found hanging from a pecan tree. When Linnie’s grandson is killed by a shotgun blast, it falls to Gale to sort out the truth—and that means she will have to dig deep into the town’s darkest secrets—and her own painful past.
Gale Grayson has come back to Statlers Cross, Georgia, to write, hoping to find in her quiet hometown the strength to confront the memories and mysteries of her husband’s life and death.
But the delicate balance in the rural community has been altered by outsiders: a family of immigrants and a visiting professor who hopes to study the area’s most isolated residents—families with a dialect and rules of their own.
In a place trapped between the present and the past, a shocking act of violence uncovers dark and dangerous truths about people whose roots go back for generations. The ties between the living and the dead are strong, and even the presence of visiting Scotland Yard detective Daniel Halford may not help unravel such a brutal crime.
It falls to Gale, her grandmother Ella, and her precocious daughter, Katie Pru, to piece together a terrifying tapestry of history and hatred whose tangled threads weave a complicated tale of betrayal. Yet it is in the photographs of Gale’s young protegee Nadianna Jesup that the truth may be found … a truth that is sheer murder for anyone who stumbles across it.
The crime scene showed that a cunning mind and a passionate hatred lay behind the killing of Lisa Stillwell. But New Scotland Yard would not have been called to this remote Hampshire village if the baby-sitter’s employer hadn’t been Gale Grayson, a self-exiled American with a suspicious past. Three years before, Chief Inspector Daniel Halford had watched helplessly as Gale’s husband put a gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger —seconds before Halford could arrest him for terrorism. Halford has never forgotten the scene or the pregnant young widow whose life was shattered —and as he questions her now, he finds past and present emotions blurring his judgment. Yet piece by piece he is discovering some unsettling truths about the life of Lisa Stillwell…and a chilling picture is forming of a village that is not quite as sleepy as it seems.