Bleeding Through: A Rachel Goddard Mystery by Sandra Parshall


Bleeding Through by Sandra ParshallReviewed by Caryn St. Clair

Veterinarian Rachel Goddard returns as the protagonist in her fifth book, Bleeding Through. People who have read the books from the beginning have felt a sort of disconnect with the storyline between the first book in the series, and the following books. Bleeding Through brings Rachel’s sister Michelle, not seen since the first book, back as a major player in the plot. This book also fills in some of the blanks left unanswered after the first book, The Heart of the Moon. After the horrific ending to that book, Parshall had Rachel leave her old life behind and move to the mountains of Virginia, take on a new job and find a new relationship. With a few exceptions, virtually nothing of Rachel’s life from the first book is mentioned again until now. Interestingly enough, I think this is a much more satisfying book because it comes several books into the series rather than if Parshall had tried to transition the story in the second book, Disturbing the Dead instead of the clean break she had Rachel make.

A teen working with Rachel and Tom’s roadside cleanup project finds the body of a law student working with the Innocence Project. Immediately everyone assumes her murder was due to the case she was working on involving a local man sent to prison for the murder of his business partner. All along he had declared himself to be innocent, but the evidence against him seemed rock solid. The question became then, was Shelley murdered because she was stirring up old feelings or because she had uncovered new evidence pointing a different direction?

On the home front, Rachel’s sister lands on her doorstep seeking refuge from a stalker who was been sending threatening emails and making threatening phone calls. He had also broken into Shelley’s office. She is scared out of her wits, but the police, and even her husband, seem hesitant to believe there is a stalker. Unfortunately, the stalker is all too real and soon follows her to Virginia where he not only terrorizes Michelle, but Rachel as well.

With Michelle around, Rachel is confronted with a lot of unpleasant memories-memories that she would rather not have to face again. Those memories that Michelle and Rachel work through together in this book fill in some of the blanks of Rachel’s story. It is interesting as a reader to see how each of the sister’s deals with the past and how able each is to move forward in life after the past is worked through.

Readers who have not read any of the previous books could pick up Bleeding Through and enjoy it as the mystery that it is. There are two crimes in play throughout the book-the murder of the law student and the stalker. Both have twisted plots and are enough to keep mystery fans engaged. And Rachel, the veterinarian brings the usual assortment of animals into play for those readers who enjoy animals in their reading choices. But to read this book first would really cheat the reader of the richness of this story that is rooted in The Heat of the Moon. Do yourself a favor-start at the beginning.

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