When veterinarian Rachel Goddard and Deputy Sheriff Tom Bridger take teenagers on an outing to clean up roadside trash in rural Mason County, Virginia, they make a grisly discovery: the plastic-wrapped body of a young woman. One teen peers at the face through the plastic and screams. The dead girl is her sister, Shelley, a law student who has been missing for a month.
As Tom launches a murder investigation, Rachel copes with a visit from her own sister, Michelle, who is terrified that a man is stalking her. Michelle insists that she is receiving threatening calls and that someone has invaded her office in the Washington, DC, area. Her own husband doubts her. Although Michelle is a psychologist, she has always been emotionally fragile, and she reverts to her childhood dependence on Rachel, stirring up memories Rachel would rather forget. Soon it becomes clear that the mysterious stalker is real and dangerous and has followed Michelle to Mason County. Now he’s turning his attention to Rachel, too.
Tom pursues the stalker at the same time he investigates Shelley’s murder. Was it random, or was she killed because she was working to prove that a Mason County man was wrongly convicted of murder? Relatives of his supposed victim were enraged by Shelley’s efforts to free a man they believe to be guilty. Did they kill her to stop her? But what if she was right? If an innocent man was convicted, one person would have the strongest motive to silence Shelley - the real murderer.
As Tom closes in on Shelley’s killer, the stalker makes his move against Rachel.
Sandra Parshall, a former newspaper reporter, is the author of the Rachel Goddard mysteries, the first of which won the Agatha Award in 2006.
When I first started listening to this series about veterinary Rachel Goddard, I liked the setting (small town in southwestern Virginia) and her animal hospital with it's eclectic staff & patients. Despite Rachel's character being too weak for my tastes, I thought she would get stronger as she got settled in to the community, made friends and fell in love with Tom.
Regretfully, Rachel still acts like a teenager, reckless one moment, insecure the next. Yes, she has a kind heart but not much common sense. Although Rachel knows a young woman was murdered in their county and her sister is hiding in Rachel's home from a stalker, she doesn't do anything proactively to protect herself.
Rachel and her sister were kidnapped as small girls, making them secretive and untrusting of people. Understandable, but the sisters didn't seek professional therapy to heal the emotional wounds and learn better coping skills. Now in their 30s, they are still victims rather than survivors, which I find really annoying. It was hard to believe that Rachel's boyfriend Tom (great guy) put up with her secrecy and immaturity.
Additionally, the villains were too unbelievable to be realistic. No, not every stalker, murderer, and thug is all powerful, highly intelligent, financially secure and a convincing liar. While Bleeding Through was very well written with the potential to be a great story; I was too aggravated with Rachel's tendency toward martyrdom and the villain's "super powers" to enjoy this book.
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