Katiebabs is a self-proclaimed present day bluestocking with her head always in a book. She runs her own book blog called Babbling about Books and More!
Virtue Falls by Christina Dodd should appeal to mystery fans, as well as fans of small town fiction. I was engaged right from chapter one, which gives you chills. We're introduced to a serial killer, who goes as far as killing children. The serial killer seems to be connected to a horrible crime decades earlier in Virtue Falls, Washington. We then visit Virtue Falls, and Elizabeth whose mother was beaten and slashed with scissors by her father who was put away in prison for the crime and now suffers from Alzheimer's. Elizabeth was four when the crime happened and was sent to live with her aunt. She has returned to Virtue Falls to study rocks. She's a geologist who understands rocks more than people.
Elizabeth is considered an odd duck. Because of her mother's murder, Elizabeth has trouble interacting with people. She is very intelligent but distant. Some would see as a nerd. She's divorced from Garik, her FBI husband, who she communicated better through with sex. She sticks to herself most of the time, ignoring the gossip about her parents. Then a big earthquake hits and things get interesting.
Garik still loves Elizabeth. When he sees an earthquake has hit Virtue Falls, he drives there to see not only Elizabeth, but his foster mother, the spunky 91 year old, who owns the oldest resort in Virtue Falls. When he sees the two women he loves are safe, he sticks around. Garik is from Virtue Falls like Elizabeth. He lends her support when she goes to see her father she hasn't seen since she was four. Her father sees her mother as a ghost, or perhaps as a hallucination. As her father tells Elizabeth about her mother and how they met and their marriage, she believes he may not have killed her mother and her mother's killer is still at large. As Elizabeth and Garik get closer to the truth, they are placed in danger, and anyone in Virtue Falls is a suspect.
Virtue Falls has a nice blend of romance (between Elizabeth and Garik, who both have great chemistry even though their personalities clash) and mystery, with a dash of suspense. There are many POV's here, but they are very well written. Garik's foster mother was my favorite character. There are other flavorful characters who add to the story, while others are more throwaway and really don't have anything to do with the plot.
I had no idea who the killer was until the very end. Also the serial killer aspect, which was a nice introduction to grab a reader, feels tacked on and doesn't make sense to the overall mystery surrounding Elizabeth's mother's death. I ended up scratching my head about that plot point because it was confusing and not fully explained.
Virtue Falls is an appealing mystery with a solid romance.