Detective Megan Carpenter Tapes Book 1 by Gregg Olson
Published on: November 18, 2019
Set in Snow Creek, Washington near Port Townsend this new detective series brought out so many different emotions as I read the story. The story telling is overwhelmingly good and the setting was thought-provoking as I worked my way through self-imposed isolation many in this community apparently desire.
Footprints were scattered about like fallen leaves. She looked down into the ravine, and once more her lungs filled with fear. A body, blackened and motionless lay splayed out in the bushes.
Detective Megan Carpenter is no stranger to evil. Escaping the horrors of her old life, she’s vowed never to let anyone hurt her or those she loves ever again. Joining the small police force in Jefferson County’s Port Townsend, Megan is determined to get every victim of a crime the justice they deserve.
So when Ruth Turner walks into the Sheriff’s office claiming her sister Ida Watson has been missing for over a month, Megan’s instincts tell her that she needs to do more than just file a report.
Arriving at a secluded farmhouse in the hills above Snow Creek, she finds Ida’s teenage children alone and frightened.
Then a few days later, close to the Watsons’ home, the blackened body of a woman is discovered in an abandoned pickup truck.
Megan must unravel the disturbing secrets of the isolated Snow Creek community if she is to catch the killer.
But Megan has dark secrets of her own too…
Hidden in the back of her closet is a box of tapes containing every single recording of her therapy sessions with Doctor Albright over thirteen years ago. As Megan begins to play the tapes, she’s taken straight back to her terrifying childhood, back to the time she was a kid called Rylee, fighting to survive.
Can Megan finally confront the past she’s spent years trying to block out and will listening to her own painful story help her solve the complex case she is now entangled in?
The story begins with a scene that made me so miffed and disgusted as I watched two self-absorbed women decide that being left alone and not being bothered was more important than perhaps alerting the police to a situation that they needed to be involved in. This opening scene evoked so many emotions that only a good writer who knows how to create excellent characters can (even when I don’t like the character’s choices).
Snow Creek gives all appearances to be an area in Washington state where people go when they no longer want to be disturbed by other people. Self-imposed isolation. To hide from civilization and never return. But when Detective Megan Carpenter is alerted to a possible missing person case of Ida Wheaton by her sister, the solitary way of life several enjoy becomes disturbed. To make the investigation even more difficult both sisters and their families have strict religious beliefs with a lot of rules, hindering both present and future conversations and questions from being answered.
I truly had a hard time putting this one down and when I stayed up late one night to finish I didn’t feel guilty about it at all. The characters and their stories were so unique and memorable. While the religious and lifestyle choices made for a interesting investigation, I am fairly certain the two women I mentioned at the beginning will be the ones I remember long after. Detective Carpenter also has a background that she is trying very hard to overcome and move on from. We learn a little through old audio tapes her therapist recorded from their sessions years ago, but never enough to give her entire story away. However, throughout the story you can see her try and take a few strides to move past her past.
Overall, this is one I can recommend to those who love detective series or police procedurals. Just note that this one is a little different due to the location and isolation. There are generally no security cameras to watch or financial records to pull up since these people tend to live off the grid that many other detective stories might use. Just a really good detective who can slowly unwind a story and find the truth.
Rating: 5 stars
Thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for the advanced reader copy and the opportunity to provide an honest review.