Until the rainy night when a Basset Hound named Maude is hit by a car, veterinarian Rachel Goddard was happy with her work at an animal hospital in McLean, Virginia. As Maude's owner rushes the dog to the hospital, Rachel finds herself trying to comfort the woman's terrified three-year-old daughter. Rachel is reminded of her own sister as a very young child, and the entire episode triggers flashbacks that make her feel as though she's losing her mind. Even the animal hospital's new head doctor, Luke Campbell, can't take her mind off these visions, and Rachel begins to search for answers-- against the express wishes of her controlling mother and her sister.
I read this book while snowed in in a small Yorkshire farm cottage while my husband and I were on vacation. Even though I was not happy about being unable to head out to our next destination, I found that Sandra Parshall's first Rachel Goddard mystery took my mind off the delay-- which was a very welcome turn of events.
This is a book in which you'll soon know the identity of the "villain." Parshall's Mommy Dearest is a memorable one indeed. What makes the pages turn is your need to find out exactly what Rachel's mother did and why she did it. As you get a bit deeper in the story, you may wonder why on earth Rachel let her mother control almost every aspect of her life, but never underestimate the persistence of a very young child who's faced abandonment to cling to what's familiar.
Luke Campbell does provide romantic interest throughout the book, but he's also there for Rachel to realize that she's not losing her mind and that she does have a future worth fighting for.
As I read The Heat of the Moon, I thought it was a standalone novel, but soon learned that it's the first book in a series centered on Rachel. I'm glad. I came to like Rachel very much, and I am definitely looking forward to reading more about her now that she can put the past behind her.
The Heat of the Moon by Sandra Parshall
Poisoned Pen Press © 2007
Paperback, 292 pages
Suspense, #1 Rachel Goddard mystery
Source: Purchased at Barnes and Noble