In The Bleak Midwinter
by M. R. Sellars
In 1975, a few days before Christmas, a little girl in the small Missouri township of Hullis, a little girl runs afoul of a child molester. Deputy Skip Carmichael receives the first call on the case, but his discoveries are more than he imagined. Thirty-five years later, Sheriff Skip is dealing with a serial killer who drops bodies off in his town seven years running. This year, he receives a visit from the fifth FBI investigator to handle the case in the form of Constance Mandalay. Will this year be any different or can Mandalay and Carmichael ferret out the anomalies and inconsistencies to the string of murders?
Serial killer mysteries are always unique. This one is no exception. Depending on the story, though, this type of story told in two parts with a past and a present, can sometimes lose me. If the clues aren’t clear or the action isn’t enough to hold my interest. However, I didn’t find that in this book. The circumstances were presented well enough I wanted to know the solution.
Addison ‘Skip’ Carmichael: 27 (1975), Deputy Sheriff in Hullis Township, smokes, brown hair, has a super-sensitive observational skills, came from a farming family, played football in high school
Constance Mandalay: FBI Special Agent from St. Louis, small stature, brown hair, chest scars from a shooting
Merrie Frances Callahan: 45 (2010), lives in a retirement home, never recovered from sexual abuse as a child. Parents dead. Has a younger sister. Graying chestnut shoulder length hair.
Basically, two characters. Merrrie is there because she was the victim, but the book centers around the sheriff and the agent. The others are on the periphery even though their minor roles play a part. Good contrast between the then and now versions of Skip and Merrie. Not too much background info on Constance. I would have liked a bit more depth with her.
Skip has some lengthy narratives. I found the dialogue comfortable. Not forced or too hick-ish.
Some chapters headed by date, time, and location. Some profanity. Scene breaks are various sized snowflakes. A lot of narrative. Fairly good descriptions. I did get a mental picture of some of the town and locations. Not much action mostly Constance tracking down clues. However, even though the supernatural goodies don’t come for awhile, there is a compelling aspect to the book that kept me going. I was hoping the questions I had throughout would be answered and they were.