The Librarian's Secret Scandal
by Jennifer Morey
(SRS #1624, $4.99, PG) ISBN 978-0-37327694-3
***
Yet another in the Colton Family series opens in Honey Creek. Former Navy Seal Wes Colton has become the Sheriff of Honey Creek. On business at the Montana State Prison, as he is leaving he is broadsided by a pickup truck driven by his town librarian Lily Masterson. Lily is distraught by the emotions aroused from facing the man who had raped her years ago. She had testified at his parole hearing, vigorously opposing an early return to society for him.

Wes's vehicle needs to be towed so Lily ends up with him as a passenger for their return to Honey Creek. Reluctant to discuss that part of her past she passes off her visit to the prison as merely seeing a friend. Lily had just recently returned to Honey Creek and she is there with her teenage daughter to take care of her widowed father who is suffering from cancer.

The Sheriff's office is preoccupied with the FBI who is present in town concerning a potential money laundering business of Walsh Enterprises. About the time fifteen years ago when Lily left town amidst the many scandals in which she'd been involved, Mark Walsh had been murdered. Damien Colton, Wes's older brother, had been convicted of the murder. When Walsh had just been recently found murdered, Wes had initiated the proceedings to procure the release of his brother from prison and it was to that end he had been in the parking lot the day he met Lily.

The story swirls around the small town life and gossip of the residents as they confront, accuse and hold Lily responsible for her very immature and rash actions of her youth, the high school classmates of her daughter May who liken her to her mother and heckle her to the near breaking point, and the sheriff's investigations of murder and money laundering.

Wes attempts to pursue his instant attraction to Lily, but makes little headway until Lily learns the rapist has been paroled. He catches her in that weak moment and her defenses against him are down. Tensions, both sexual and crime laden come together in a plot that continues to gain momentum.

Morey is an experienced writer who easily picks up the threads of the Colton family with imaginative and fairly true to life characters. The pace of small town living is well done, and she captures the mood of the "good citizens" ostracizing "a fallen lewd woman" perfectly. Her dialog is consistent from the teenagers through the oldest of the residents. What may be less credible to readers is the achievement of redemption in a small town for the scandalous acts in which Lily had been a participant long ago.

--Thea Davis


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