Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.” —Groucho Marx

Friday, April 18, 2014

Code of the Hills by Nancy Allen--A Review

Synopsis from Good Reads:

To uncover the truth, she'll have to break the code of the hills …

In the Missouri Ozarks, some things aren't talked about … even abuse. But prosecutor Elsie Arnold is determined to change that.

When she is assigned to prosecute a high-profile incest case in which a father is accused of abusing his three young daughters, Elsie is ready to become the Ozarks' avenging angel.

But as Elsie sinks her teeth into the case, everything begins to turn sour. The star witness goes missing; the girls refuse to talk about their father, who terrorizes the courtroom from the moment he enters; and Elsie begins to suspect that their tough-as-nails mother has ulterior motives. To make matters worse, Elsie receives gruesome threats from local extremists, warning her to mind her own business.

While Elsie swears not to let a sex offender walk, she realizes the odds—and maybe the town—are against her, and her life begins to crumble. But amidst all of the conflict, the safety of three young girls hangs in the balance ...

A powerful debut, with the haunting atmosphere of Winter's Bone and the page-turning suspense of Alafair Burke's thrillers.

From My Perspective:

Words to describe the reading experience:  chilling, hair raising,  deeply troubling, and frightening.

The Characters in Allen's debut novel were as authentic as any I have read about in the past.   Elsie Arnold was a strong woman who dealt with the abuse of others and yet was subjected to abuse at the hands of her boyfriend, a local cop.   Elsie could be tough in a courtroom and yet she had a soft side as well, a desperate desire to protect the innocent children subjected to sexual abuse.  The Taney case she was assigned to put her way over her head as far as comfort goes, but Elsie was tenacious and not about to give up.   I liked that when she felt overwhelmed there was safety and peace at the home of her parents and she had a strong working relationship with Ashlock, another cop on the force.   He was a true straight arrow and truly sought justice for Elsie's victims of abuse.

Allen wrote with purpose and a well plotted story.   She was clearly familiar with the lingo of the hills people and wrote their story convincingly.   Truly a disgusting and distasteful topic,  child sexual abuse and any type of abuse is prevalent in today's society.   The point is , as Elsie so sagely put it in her closing remarks, do we protect our children or don't we?  Do we punish the offender or don't we?   What stance as a community do we take?   What message will we send?

This was a very easy read and I thoroughly enjoyed the novel.  It is thought provoking and haunting.
I almost saw this as a call to arms or action.   Abuse has touched all of our lives starting with the daily news and ending on some of our very door steps.

I rated this a 5 Wink read.


Disclaimer:  I read for my pleasure.   I may receive ARC copies for review purposes, but I am not compensated for my reviews .  I like to read and I like to share my reviews.   I post my thoughts without prejudice or bias.  The words are mine and I write reviews based on my humble opinion.  I will admit, I seldom meet a book I don't like. I received a complimentary copy from the author or the author’s representatives in exchange for an honest review.

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