essex-valley-by-r-t-grahamstars-5-0._V192240867_ (1)

Essex Valley: A Quiet Nice Little Town, grabbed my attention from the first chapter! I always read when I go to bed, but when I find a story that makes me want to keep reading long past the time I usually turn put down my kindle and turn out the light, I know it’s a good one! The first night I finally turned out the light at 11:30 (an hour later than usual), but I couldn’t quit thinking about the book, so at midnight I turned on the light and fired up my Kindle and read for another hour and a half. I went to bed early the next night, just so I could finish the book.
The premise of a father and daughter uprooting their lives to start anew after two members of their family had been killed in a freak accident a year before, tugged at my heart. I could feel the pain of Evan Spicer and, his 14-year-old daughter, Stevie. In Seattle, everywhere they turned, memories of happy times and then the shattering loss and grief of the past year haunted them.

Evan decided to sell the family house in Seattle. He applied for the job of Sheriff in the small California town of Essex Valley. The position had opened because the former Sheriff disappeared suddenly, leaving no trace. Spicer was accepted and made an offer on a house in the town. The deal fell through and he ended up buying a fixer-upper in a location that he liked better. Stevie was dismayed when she first saw it and when they went inside, she said she wouldn’t live there. The place was a filthy mess and I could sympathize with her reaction. I liked the way Evan handled the situation. He was considerate, but firm. He explained to her that they had nowhere else to go, and together they would plan renovations that would make it a comfortable home.

Within days he finds a contractor and the renovations begin. Evan starts work, but reassures Stevie that if she feels the least bit uncomfortable about the crew who are working there or anything else, she is to call him immediately and he will be there.

Strange things begin to happen: a suggestive note with a condom attached to it shows up in his mailbox. Then one day he opens it to find a snake inside. Evan is alarmed but doesn’t want to frighten his daughter unnecessarily, so he decides to be watchful and alert. A few times, unusual sounds in the night startle Stevie and she wakes Evan up. He checks outside but finds nothing. Then one day he discovers footprints under her bedroom window. He warns her and takes a firm stand about who she is allowed to associate with.

Through his job as the Sherrif, he has become aware of a couple of groups of bad actors in town. Stevie is a beautiful girl, who attracts “admirers” that Evan does not approve of. Stevie is mature for her age, but she is a teenager. When she comes face to face with danger, she realizes that her dad was right.

Graham did a great job of portraying a close and healthy relationship between father and daughter. She also wove a thriller that was filled with suspense and many twists and turns that kept me guessing. The characters were complex and as the plot progressed, the author gave you insight into what made them like they were. That made them no less disturbing.

This is the second book that I have read by R.T. Graham. In January of 2016, I read and reviewed “Isle of OZ: An Accidental Adventure.” It was another book that I thoroughly enjoyed. I highly recommend Essex Valley. I will be reading more books by this author!

This book can be purchased on Amazon.com by clicking here