As newly appointed small-town Sheriff Angus Reid settles into Weyport, it doesn’t take him long to discover just how corrupt his new town is. With a desk full of suspicious open cases and too much to prove, he is determined to rid his town of crime and win the hearts of his people.
But when two teenagers suddenly go missing, it lays bare sinister secrets and emotional ties that threaten to derail his investigation. And as the case untangles, the secrets buried deep within the coastal borders of the tight-knit community slowly bubble to the surface. Determined to find justice for the missing boys and their families, he races against the clock to find them. Unbeknownst of the dark forces that rage against him. Then he gets a call that a body has been found…
If you enjoy suspenseful, twisty secrets and lies mystery novels that are rooted in faith and leave your heart in your throat, you will have a hard time putting down this page-turning Christian mystery and suspense novel.
Jesus answered, “Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time?” - John 14:9 (NIV)
A mother knows. At least, that's what everyone told her. That she'd know when something was wrong. Feel it. Deep inside as if there was an invisible cord that had stayed behind the day she brought her son into this life.
Well, they were wrong. Dead wrong.
She didn't know her son at all. But then, he didn't know her either.
The rhythmic ticking of the clock on Jake Foley’s nightstand slowly picked at his nerves as he waited for his parents to go to bed. He had been lying in his bed for hours, biding his time in the stillness of the night. He stared at the full moon that streamed in through his bedroom window. Waiting had never come easy to him. A trait his mother always said he got from her. But this was one time he had to be patient—he couldn’t risk getting caught. Not tonight. There was too much riding on it.
The house was quiet and from where he lay on his bed, he stared at the narrow gap beneath his bedroom door, looking for any signs that his parents might still be awake.
His dad, stepdad, in fact, was one of the church elders, and when on occasion their pastor couldn’t deliver the sermon and the duty fell on his stepdad, he would often stay up late to work. But Jake had checked the family calendar on the refrigerator earlier that day, just to be sure he was not preaching that Sunday. His mom was good at keeping the calendar up to date and that gave him the peace he would be in the clear.
In the next room, his younger brother would be fast asleep too. Teddy was his stepbrother but he had never thought of him as anything less than the brother he had always wanted. Jake was only seven when their parents married. Teddy was three. There were only four years between them, at least double that since the car accident that claimed the life of Teddy’s birth mother when he was just a few years old. And although Teddy had survived the near-fatal crash, the accident had caused too much damage to his brain. Teddy’s neurons were no longer firing properly and by the age of eight, he’d regressed in age, keeping him from stringing more than a few sensible words together when his thoughts got stuck in a loop. That was happening more often as he’d gotten older but for the most part, Teddy was easy to be around. The part that wasn’t as easy, was the constant care he needed. Care that had over the past ten years left its mark on his parents' marriage and slowly drained most of their savings—and Jake’s college fund.
As Jake’s thoughts ran away with him, doubt suddenly tugged at his emotions and he shoved it aside before it persuaded him not to go through with his plans. His mind was telling him he had to. He had no choice.
He turned to see if it was time to go yet, straining to read the old-fashioned clock’s hands in the dark. Quarter past two. Close enough, he thought and gently peeled away the bedcovers. Picking up his worn red Converse sneakers with one hand, he slowly inched toward his bedroom door. There was no need to change; he’d cleverly gone to bed in his black hoodie and dark jeans.
The floorboard creaked just as he got close to the door and he bit down on his lip and froze in place. He stood there for a short while, listening. When it seemed the coast was clear, he opened his door and carefully popped his head around the corner. The house was quiet. In his parents’ room at the end of the short, dark corridor, his stepdad’s peaceful snores gave him the all-clear and he gently shut his bedroom door behind him.
Tiptoeing toward the front of the house, he passed Teddy’s room and briefly glanced sideways at his bed. Only to find his thirteen-year-old brother sitting upright, his eyes staring directly at him.
“Can I come too, Jacob?” These days only his family called him by his birth name.
Jake’s insides turned as Teddy called out to him and he glanced back over his shoulder to see if his mom had woken up.
“Shh,” he said placing his forefinger over his mouth. “Go back to bed, Teddy.”
But Teddy wouldn’t have it and already had one leg swung over the side of his bed.
Jake’s heart jolted as he took two leaps toward his brother.
“No, Teddy, go back to sleep.”
“Why not? Why not?” Teddy’s mind had gone into a loop, precisely what Jake had feared might happen.
Jake pinched his shoes under one arm and tried pushing Teddy down into his bed but Teddy’s pleas got louder.
“Everything is fine, Teddy. Just go back to bed, okay? Heroes need their sleep, remember?” Jake forced a smile, hoping it would console his brother enough for him to go back to bed.
“I want ice cream,” Teddy said, still louder than Jake would have preferred but at least Teddy had somehow found another distraction.
“Fine but keep it down. You’re going to wake mom up and then you can forget about getting any ice cream.”
Teddy mimicked the gesture to be quiet.
“Stay here. I’ll go get you some ice cream,” Jake whispered. “And if you keep this all secret, I’ll add some of those nice chocolate buttons on top.”
Visible in the soft glow of the moonlight, Teddy’s big eyes stretched even wider as he nodded. Guilt and shame set into Jake’s conscience. It was a big secret to keep for a thirteen-year-old, much less when he had the mind of an eight or nine-year-old. But he had no other choice given the circumstances and, if he didn’t hurry, he was going to be late.
Dropping his shoes on the foot of the bed, Jake quietly hastened to the kitchen. He snatched the tub of Ben & Jerry’s from the freezer, tucking it under one arm as he reached for the chocolate buttons and a spoon. He couldn’t be bothered scooping it into a bowl; there wasn’t time. So, he dashed back to Teddy’s room. Jake dropped the tub into Teddy’s lap where he was now quietly rocking back and forth in his bed, his small head light now in place above his brows.
“Here, but don’t eat it all, okay? We don’t want you waking up with a tummy ache. Hide the tub under your bed when you’re done. I’ll put it back in the freezer later.”
It seemed to satisfy Teddy’s untimely craving and with a near crisis now safely averted, Jake picked up his shoes and snuck off down the passage.
By the time, Jake had managed to successfully sneak out of the house and leaped off their front porch, his heart was pounding inside his chest. He was late. That could cost him everything.
With no time to spare, he pulled his shoes on mid stride as he headed across the front lawn toward the small woodland footpath a little farther down the street. The front of their house bordered a narrow patch of dense, leafy trees that were hedged in by thick shrubs on all sides and the path would take him through to where his ride would be waiting for him at the other end. At least, he hoped Aaron would still be there.
The cold winter air cut across his cheeks and he pulled his hoodie over his head. Fresh, salty ocean air mingled with the scent of the surrounding earthy foliage filled his nostrils as the wind pushed at him from the front. "Please be there," he murmured, sending a hazy cloud into the cold air. He ran the path in half the usual time, shooting out between the tall bushes on the other end of the residential woodland.
As agreed, Aaron’s slick white BMW was parked up just ahead.
“You’re late!” Aaron yelled as Jake dropped into the front seat next to him.
“Yeah, I know. I had trouble getting out of the house.”
Aaron’s foot flattened the accelerator, leaving his car’s wheels to screech as he pulled away.
“It’s not just your life on the line here, Jake, it’s mine too. Do you have any idea what it took me to pull this off? I vouched for you, you know.”
“Yeah, I know, sorry.”
With Aaron’s annoyance now at bay, he snuck a quick sideward glance at Jake from behind the wheel.
“Where’s your skims?”
“You’re gonna need a ski mask, dude. Trust me, you don’t want these guys to see your face.”
Aaron’s words left Jake cold. He hadn’t thought of that. Why didn’t he think of that? What if someone recognized him? Weyport was too small for him to go unrecognized.
“Chill out, dude. I have a spare.” Aaron popped his chin out toward the glovebox and turned the car’s nose toward the old highway that ran along the coast.