Sticks and Stones

I will admit that I 100% bought this because the main character has my name.  So few books have characters named Leah that when I saw Michael Hiebert’s detective did, I had to buy it.  The story did sound intriguing too, so that helps.

Leah Teal is a detective in a small Alabama town.  Her father was also on the force, and she grew up watching him immerse himself in his cases.  One in particular always bothered him– the Stickman, a serial killer that was finally stopped by Leah’s dad.  That’s what everyone thought, at least, until the Stickman seems to reappear, fifteen years later.

Now it’s Leah’s turn to crack the case.  While the original suspect, Harry Stork, is dead, Leah takes it upon herself to revisit everything her father found out that pointed to Stork as the killer.  With the help of her boyfriend and fellow detective, Dan, and even her son, Abe, Leah gets closer than ever before.

Everything is finally starting to come together when someone Leah loves is taken by the Stickman.  She is forced to think fast and solve the mystery quickly, before another victim is claimed.

This book had a ton of potential.  I was genuinely caught up in who the Stickman was and how it all connected.  I made some guesses about whodunit, and I did actually end up guessing correctly (although it took me awhile to get there).  The chapters switched between characters, and I think that helped keep it interesting.  It went between Leah and her daughter Caroline in third person, and her son Abe in first person.

There were some issues I had with this though, the first being that it was way too long.  Michael Hiebert could have easily had 100 less pages and sped everything up a little bit, and it would still be a good story.  It might be better, in fact, because no climax was reached until the last 100 of 529 pages.  Another problem I had– and this might just be me being petty– was that although they were in Alabama, and they speak with a lot of “y’alls” and “ain’ts,” it got kind of annoying reading that in third person narration.  If a character isn’t speaking/thinking, I can do without the questionable grammar.

All issues aside, it was a good story.  The ending wasn’t what I was expecting, that is for sure.


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