Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Back Road by Rachel Abbott Coming in Paperback on October 8th! Will You Solve This Case?!!

"And in local news, we have a report on a hit-and-run accident in the quiet village of Little Melham. A young girl was knocked down on the B522 and the driver failed to stop. This road--locally known as the back road--connects the A564 and the A5194 but according to the police is normally only used by locals. The girl, who has not been named yet, is said to be in a critical condition. The accident took place in the early hours of this morning, and the police are asking anybody who was out in the area last night to..."

"An angry hand reached out and switched the radio off. "Why did she reject me? Why was she scared? Why did she run? All that planning...blown away by an impulsive action...

The Back Road
By Rachel Abbott

I loved the back road near the house where I grew up... The trees would bend out over the road and create a canopy that created a shady sometimes mysterious place that showed up even in my dreams--there I would be running, running so fast back toward home that I would take off and fly! In the summers, my sister, Dee, and I would take some type of food, walk up that back road and find some big rock on which to have our picnic... That road became part of my precious memories of my early years...

But for Abbie Campbell, that back road, first, had looked like a possible escape... only to become a place of great pain as she was rammed by a speeding car, and then left with no help... There were many people out that night, doing things they shouldn't have been doing--but one of them was the monster that had earlier held Abbie captive, until she had escaped and ran...

Ellie Saunders is the main character who is actively involved, not with the hit-and-run, but with...others... For one, she has a stalker, a man with whom she "almost" got involved one time and who has, since then, declared that they must be together. Don't mind telling you that this man is scary! 
"Ellie was staring vacantly at Abbie as the turbulent thoughts churned round and round her mind. A flicker of movement caught her eye, and she focused on Abbie's young face. Nothing. But she was sure she'd seen something. Maybe it was the shadow of a cloud moving over the sun...She reached out and stroked its peachy surface with the back of her fingers, hoping and praying that she had been right; that there had been some flicker of movement. Suddenly she felt that all her problems were trivial. Imagine if this was your child, she thought. That's what devastation is--not worrying about secret phone calls and foolish mistakes...
"Ellie tenderly stroked the girl's hair back from her face. She remembered Kath trying to sing to Abbie on Saturday, but she was so choked she'd had to give up. Ellie had asked her what the song was, and Kath had told her that Abbie had always loved Adele and her dad sometimes played 'Someone Like You' on the piano for her to sing to. So now Ellie hummed it quietly. She didn't remember the words, but hoped that didn't matter...
"Ten minutes later, Ellie felt a flicker of hope. She'd seen it again, and this time she was certain..."

"Why don't you let me in, and we can
talk? I'm right here.
"The voice was quiet and persuasive,
but Ellie shivered in fear. She turned
her back on the window sho that her
expression would be hidden from the
watcher in the grounds. He mustn't
see that he was getting to her.
"Of course, I can't let you in. Max will
be home any minute now. Please
don't  do this. Please.
"You know he's not  going to be home
for a long time yet. He's at the party--
and he's with her. We both know that.
I've seen him with her, Ellie...
But her husband, Max seems to be involved with another teacher at his school and Ellie is getting reports of their being seen out and about. Unfortunately the stalker has been one who has seen them and is using it to further his personal cause... He calls, leaves yellow roses in public places where she is... But, later, the one who kidnapped Abbie sees that she's become involved...and also starts following her...and...more...

It was Leo, her half-sister, who found the latest rose he'd left--on the front step...and she immediately saw the reaction the rose created...

Leo and Ellie had always gotten along, even though Leo, from the time she had moved in, had been either tortured by her step-mother or ignored by her father. But her father had had no choice. When Leo's mother died, who was also married to Ellie's father, he'd brought her into their home... Ellie's mother had used her mostly as a slave from then on, and worse... Leo had many nightmarish memories of those days and had much to try to get over... That's why she was back, living in the house that Ellie had retained in the family and recently renovated...

It was her hope that, since her mother had died, that her father, who had walked out on them, might return to his daughters... Though Leo had no desire to ever see him again, since her memories were quite different!
"Max watched Ellie carefully in the mirror for a
few seconds. Her head had dropped back down and
she was gazing at the floor as if transfixed by the
pile of the pale cream carpet. He could see she
wasn't impressed by his little performance.
Normally she would have shrugged off his
silliness, or laughed with him. But not anymore.
A pang of guilt struck him hard in the chest. He
knew what he'd been doing to her for the past
couple of months, but he couldn't help himself.
Every morning he gave himself a good talking to,
and every night he acknowledged that he had
failed once again to stick to his resolutions."

When Abbie had been hurt and left at the side of the road, the whole town started talking. Who would hit her and just leave her? And why was a young girl out on that back road late at night?

Of course, the police had started the gossip even more. They asked that anybody who had been out driving that night let them know, so that they could try to pinpoint details...

But nobody wanted to share that information, for personal reasons!

This book is nearly 500 pages so be prepared to try to follow all that was happening and figure out who was doing what! I was totally lost by the time the book ended! And, Wow, what a climax!

The key to this hold over readers' attention is because there are so many secrets! But they don't necessarily have anything to do with what happened on that back road... So how are you going to know who is doing what?! Sure, there are hints, but they are just guesses, at the most. This author surely keeps a white board handy nearby to keep her characters and plots straight... for her mind cannot keep each track straight on its own...LOL... In whatever way she does it, I've got to praise her skills in plots, twists and turns!

I was amazed at the things Leo faced as she returned to certain spots in town--amazed to realize that people could have been so cruel to a young child who had absolutely no responsibility for the sins of her father...

"The room was quiet. He had no doubt turned off his least favorite music as soon as she went upstairs...
"The shower was a good idea. You look more relaxed and it's dark now--so even more romantic. You take it easy, and I'll sort out the pasta.
"With a final stroke of her still-wet hair, Max returned to the kitchen, flicking the iPod back on as he went...The music continued to soothe her, as track after track of all her 'soppy' music was played. She wished she could talk to him. Really talk to him. But she was too afraid...

At the same time, I enjoyed watching a relationship develop between Leo and Tom, the sheriff... Leo, I was surprised to learn, was now a "life coach" who had obviously gotten over the trauma of her past and now was reaching out to help others. In fact, her blog entries run through the novel and are a pleasant diversion of "good thoughts..."

But Leo's occupation and offer to provide free life coaching introductions to a number of women in town really brought about a reaction from many of the men--who also had secrets that they had no intention their wives share!

This is one of the best mystery suspense novels I've read this year! I certainly recommend it to everybody that loves to be stumped by an author! I sure was...and if you figured it out, let me know what "clue" got you started on solving it!


About the Author

I lived most of life in the north of England, and worked for many years as the managing director of an interactive media company. I wrote every day - everything from creative proposals to user manuals - but most exciting of all was writing interactive dramas - including for the Cluedo (Clue in the US) interactive games. I was fortunate enough to sell my company in 2000 and we moved to Italy where we bought and restored an old country house. 
My first novel Only the Innocent is about the cold-blooded execution of a well respected man, and as the story develops it becomes clear that sometimes murder can, perhaps, be justified. Only the Innocent was launched in November 2011 and reached the #1 spot on Amazon UK in mid February - and stayed there for four weeks.  I recently published my second novel - The Back Road and I'm working on the third.
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