Loyal Raines has survived his share of tricks, along with whispers behind his back, over-long stares, and even cruel indifference. A childhood fever took his hearing, but in no way did it affect his ability to communicate if a person truly wanted to hear him out. For years Creed Raines' guilt over his son's disability had driven a wedge right down the middle of Loyal's family, but on a hot summer day Creed was the first person Loyal ran to tell . . . . . . about a dead body.
The murder of an outsider has rocked the small town of Beverly, West Virginia. Creed Raines has been deputized in the search for the killer, and Loyal's knowledge of the case has been erroneously marginalized; no one considers how much he might have seen that day along the river bank, so they haven't even asked. As the investigation takes multiple twists and turns, Loyal is forced to make some of the most difficult decisions of his young life while carrying an underlying desire to make his father proud, and to show both of his parents that he is not a child anymore. Can a tragic event actually become a blessing for a family that so desperately needs restoration?
Blending the nuances of mountain culture with the unshakable truths of honesty and justice, this lovely story merges story and character so perfectly that its readers will want to climb the mountain themselves in order to move from the audience to the stage.
*I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher. I also purchased a copy. The opinions stated above are entirely my own. 4.5 stars
With a setting in small-town West Virginia in the summer of 1934 and colorful, realistically flawed characters, this story immersed me quickly into it and kept me turning the pages. I was intrigued by Loyal Raines, a deaf 13-year-old boy trying to be like other kids and longing for friends, his father Creed Raines who because of his feelings of guilt has distanced himself from his wife and child, and Delphy Raines who wants to protect her son from hurts by others. When Loyal finds a dead body and runs to his father for help, it sets many things into motion that just might heal their family.
I admired Sarah Loudin Thomas’s creativity and the way she carefully meshed the solving of the murder with the changing feelings and growth of the characters. Along with a mystery, suspense, and a touch of romance, there is also a tender message of forgiveness, healing, and hope that lends depth and dimension to the story. I will definitely be looking forward to more books by this talented author.
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishers. All opinions are my own
Thirteen-year-old Loyal Raines is supposed to stay close to home on a hot summer day in 1934. When he slips away for a quick swim in the river and finds a dead body, he wishes he'd obeyed his mother. The ripples caused by his discovery will impact the town of Beverly, West Virginia, in ways no one could have imagined.
The first person those ripples disturb is Loyal's absentee father. When Creed Raines realized his infant son was deaf, he headed for the hills, returning only to help meet his family's basic needs. But when Loyal, now a young teen, stumbles upon a murder it's his father he runs to tell--shaping the words with his hands. As Creed is pulled into the investigation he discovers that what sets his son apart isn't his inability to hear but rather his courage. Longing to reclaim the life he abandoned, Creed will have to do more than help solve a murder if he wants to win his family's hearts again.
Bethany House Publishers, November 2020
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