The Bone House by Brian Freeman (♦♦♦♦½)

Glory Fischer, a native of a remote Wisconsin town, narrowly survives a deadly fire as a ten year-old. Six years later, she is found dead in a beach in Naples, Florida, where she had gone to vacation and to support her sister who was attending a national, college dance competition. The prime suspect is Mark Bradley who is also vacationing at the same resort with his wife.

Mark Bradley had it all: he was an attractive man in his mid-forties, he had a smart, beautiful wife who trusted him, a career at which he excelled and a house in an isolated part of the country, which he loved. His good name was taken away a year prior when rumors surfaced of him having a steamy affair with teenager Tresa Fischer, Glory’s older sister. He had been a substitute high school teacher but had been fired after the scandal. Mark wasn’t charged with a crime because Tresa denied the allegations. Despite of it, everyone in their community thought he was guilty and that Hilary, his wife, was a fool for trusting him.

Glory’s death brought back the hatred and suspicions towards Mark Bradley, only this time people were ready to make him pay for it. Detective Cab Bolton with the Naples police, traveled to Door County, Wisconsin to keep abreast of developments in the case. Soon after his arrival he realized that Mark Bradley had already been tried and convicted in the public’s opinion and that some people in the community were ready to kill to see Bradley brought to justice.

Wow. This story is as cold as it is enthralling. I couldn’t put down this book since the first page, and the opening proves to be more important as the story progresses. This is a taut, psychological thriller that packs punches without being too conscious of it. This is the kind of stuff that nightmares are made of. Neither too slow nor too rushed the action has a pace that doesn’t make the reader hyper but still keeps him/her on his/her toes.

I would love to read another story by this author if he manages to repeat this formula. Bravo!