Recently, I did something I haven't done for months, perhaps not for years. I let the dishes mellow in the sink, put the children to bed, begged my beloved's indulgence and read a book in one sitting. I read The Real Enemy, by Kathy Herman.
This book was a good companion for a suspense hungry soul. I took an immediate liking to Brill (short for Brilliant, a moniker she earned as an investigator in Memphis). Brill lives the dilemma that many female police officers know very well.. She is constantly stretched too thin on the home front, to the detriment of her children and husband. She is wooed with the temptation at work to over invest herself for the thrill of the chase and her sense of responsibility to the community. I want to take Brill under my wing and give her some motherly advice. I want to tell her to go home and hold her child and kiss her husband.
Devoid of the benefit of my advice, Brill weaves herself into the warp of a superstitious and sometimes distrusting community, Sofie Trace, without the solace of her husband Kurt and with little interaction from her children. Due to Kurt's brief, adulterous affair in the past, Brill allows herself to be spun in an ever widening path that leads away from home. At work, the press, the "Good ole boy" Sheriff and the handsome FBI agent from her past all grapple at what is left of her.
In the midst of this heart crumble is a terrible crime that grows more unthinkable every day. How is one person able to withstand all these opposing pressures? How does a suffering family stay together? You will have to read to find out if Kurt's repentant commitment and the tender heart of the last child at home are enough to keep Brill anchored in her home. Is Brill's faith in God strong enough to keep her from temptation? Who, or what is causing the good people of Sofie Trace to disappear?
Be careful as you follow Brill and Kurt around Sofie Trace. The rules seem to be changing. Shadows from the past and the smokescreens of a new group of criminals swirl together. Who is perpetrating this evil? Are they living or dead? Is anyone safe? Even your next door neighbors could be in danger.
As much as I enjoyed this book and look forward to the rest of the trilogy (anybody have them to loan?) I do hope Ms. Herman will sculpt the support characters in the next books with a little more depth and reality. If so, I think it will be like scooping out of the vanilla and into the strawberry and chocolate in the neopolitan ice cream. I scream...for more time with Brill and Kurt.
I give it 4 and 1/2 scoops!