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The working title for this story was "Beds of Clay." Once you're into the book, you'll understand why. I changed it because the initial inspiration for the story contained an image the "road shrine." We've all seen these roadside crosses commemorating a tragic death. Like my main character, Richard Carter, I do some of my best thinking while driving alone. In this instance, I wondered about a more sinister remembrance cue: the reliving of a sadistic predator's "triumph."
We are told by John Douglas and other members of the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit that serial murderers constantly fantasize and replay their mayhem. They keep trophies and revisit the scene of the crime (they are probably the only criminals who really do that). They even go back to dumpsites to visit the body. A thought came: What better way to remember someone than with a road shrine? Enough about the plot. This is supposed to be a mystery.
Along with the search for the serial killer, we continue with the growth and evolution of the Carter family. Richard's PTSD plays less of a role, but he will never be rid of it. Mirabelle is getting old enough for him to worry about her inevitable discovery of their past and Richard's "unforgivable" sin. As for the extended family, Ron Guidry, Shane,and Raven have significant changes in their lives.
Returning for a reprise of his role in Call Her Sabine, is Jill's colleague Cyrus Hopewell. And Richard finally meets Special Agent Tanner.
A new character debuts, Deputy Woodie Koeltz from central Missouri. Smart and gung ho, she is inexperienced, but not as naive as Richard assumes. I think this strong woman is destined to appear in a later story.