- Author: Marcia Meara
- Published: June 2016 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
- Category: Contemporary Fiction, Supernatural.
“. . . he felt the wet slide of the dog’s burning hot tongue on his face, and the scrape of its razor sharp teeth against the top of his head. A white-hot agony of crushing pain followed, as the jaws began to close.”
The wine-red trillium that carpets the forests of the North Carolina Mountains is considered a welcome harbinger of spring—but not all such omens are happy ones. An Appalachian legend claims the Black Dog, or Ol’ Shuck, as he’s often called, is a harbinger of death. If you see him, you or someone you know is going to die.
The story opens in 1994 when eight year old Sissy Birdwell meets neighbour Cadey Hagen as she begins the walk home after being dropped off from the school bus. Cadey has a secret he promises to share with Sissy and takes her into the woods. She is never seen again. If I actually needed a hook for the book, this would have been it.
Fast forward to 2014 on Wake-Robin Ridge. It’s been a quiet time since the Cole family expanded to four, with the addition of baby Branna, but now Sheriff Raleigh Wardell has asked Mac for help, while hoping Rabbit might come up with something as well. The Sheriff has never forgotten the twenty year old cold case of missing Sissy Birdwell and he hopes between them they can at last solve the mystery.
Cadey Hagan has been having the same nightmare, of being chased by a huge black dog with fiery eyes, repeatedly for the past twenty years. Despite his persona of a decent, upstanding citizen and the deacon of the Light of Grace Baptist church, the dream wouldn’t release it’s hold and was even becoming more frequent. Cady mistakenly believed that as long as he appeared to be caring and considerate, a good man, then that’s what he actually was, regardless of the truth in his heart.
He rubbed absently at a long, thin scar that ran from his left wrist to his elbow, then realized what he was doing, and stopped, shutting the door on that thought, completely. Moving as quietly as possible, he headed up the stairs towards the bedroom, until he was struck by another thought.
Maybe she did it on purpose. Maybe she’a as sick of me as I am of her.
He halted mid-step, frowning as he considered that idea, then continued his climb, his stomach now knotted with anxiety.
Oh, that wouldn’t do. That wouldn’t do at all.
The story is told in part from Sarah’s perspective, the rest in the third person, as it has from the beginning of the series and it works well. Rabbit is trying desperately to control his increasingly expanding gift. His ability to sense, and see, things others can’t is sometimes overwhelming. It’s a huge burden for a child to carry but Rabbit is committed to doing all he can for Sissy and her mother. He has his friendship with Finn as a balance, when they are just two boys having fun, but Sarah and Mac can’t help worrying about him.
The Ol’ Shuck legend is worked into the story very effectively. When a person’s life is shallow and everything they are and do revolves around appearances, guilt can take on a life of it’s own. Cadey Hagen’s personality conveys this perfectly.
The descriptions of the area are wonderful, and as always, very visual. The dialogue is relevant to each character, and they are all realistic, fully developed and vividly drawn, Rabbit is as loveable as ever. The narrative is well paced and as it unfolds the suspense increases culminating in a dramatic climax.
About Marcia Meara
Marcia Meara is a native Floridian, and lives in Sanford, just north of Orlando, with her husband of 30+ years, four cats, and two dachshunds. When not working on her books and blogs, she spends her time gardening, and enjoying the surprising amount of wildlife that manages to make a home in her suburban yard.
At the age of five, Marcia declared she wanted to be an author, and is ecstatic that a mere 64 years later, she finally wrote “Wake-Robin Ridge,” her first novel. Making up for lost time, she published four more novels in the next three years:
A Boy Named Rabbit: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 2
Harbinger: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 3
Swamp Ghosts: Riverbend Book 1
Finding Hunter: Riverbend Book 2
Marcia has also published a small chapbook of poetry, Summer Magic: Poems of Life and Love, and her work has been included in six Silver Birch Press Anthologies.