Miracle in a Dry Season    Dangerous Passage





Sticks and Stones by Susan Meissner


The Advocate

Sticks and Stones by Susan Meissner

Reviewed by April Gardner

"[For those who] enjoy exploring contemporary issues ... Meissner does an excellent job weaving backstory into the plot."

They’re going to find a body at the Prairie Bluff construction site. He deserved what he got, but it wasn’t supposed to happen. It was an accident.

When the body is uncovered, Rachael and Detective Will Pendleton discover that the fifteen-year old victim, Randall Bucket, had been buried twenty-five years before. Is the letter writer and the killer the same person? Why would someone speak up now? And why are they telling Rachael?

~ back cover of Sticks and Stones

Rachael has received a letter from someone who believes her compassionate enough not to judge what he/she is claiming to be an accidental death hidden for twenty-five years. The truth is now coming out, whether the letter writer likes it or not, and Rachel hopes to discover the truth before the police do. Somehow, in an eerie way, Rachel knows the person who is writing the letters is innocent. Now if she can only convince the cops…

If you enjoy a book that’s dedicated to exploring contemporary issues, this book might be the one for you. Sticks and Stones revolves around those ridiculed and bullied as children and the horrific results it has on them at the time, as well as later, when they’re adults. There is one chapter in particular toward the beginning that describes children abusing other children and parents and schools failing them by not controlling them. It was quite eye opening.

Being an escapist reader myself, I still found this book enjoyable for its suspense and a few quirky characters that were written particularly well. Rachel’s artsy, eccentric husband, Trace, and his equally maverick buddies, Brick and Fig, were a blast to read. From spiky hair colored teal at the tips to yak and jicama for dinner, these guys kept me chuckling.

Meissner does an excellent job of weaving backstory into the plot without overwhelming the reader. I didn’t even realize I was reading book two in the Rachel Flynn Mysteries until well toward the end when I read the back cover.

So who killed the neighborhood bully, fifteen-year-old Ronald “Bucky” Buckett? Which one of his five child-victims would hate him enough to do it? Or did they work together…?

Was it “murder and mayhem” or “desperation and utter misfortune” that took Bucky’s life? Rachel’s about to find out…

April GardnerApril W Gardner writes adult and middle grade historical fiction. Her first novel, Wounded Spirits, releases with Vintage Romance Publishing in November of this year. She is a member of ACFW and reviews for Title Trakk, At Home With Christian Fiction, and FIRST Wild Card Blog Tours. A military spouse, April has performed the art of homemaking all over the world. Currently, she lives in Georgia with her darling Hubby. A homeschool mom, she fills her mornings talking fractions and phonics with her two sweet kiddos. In her free time, April enjoys reading, gardening, and DIY. In no particular order, she dreams of owning a horse, visiting all the national parks, and speaking Italian. Visit April's Website or her blog, A Writer's Journey. You can also get to know April on Facebook and Twitter.