Reviewed by Cheryl Russell
Ever Present Danger by Kathy
"...a story of guilt and forgiveness, of responsibility and hope."
Four people agreed to the pact. Now three are dead. Will Ivy be next?
Ivy Griffith is returning home to Jacob's Ear after a ten year absence. Drug-filled years for the most part, Ivy is now clean, but not alone. She's bringing with her seven-year old Montana, her illegitimate son, and a seventy year old woman named Lucia. Her life started its downturn when she was in high school and began to date bad boy Pete Barton. One night, while high on drugs, Pete, Ivy and their two best friends Reg Morrison and Denny Richards murder one of their classmates and bury his body where it won't be found. They swear a pact to one another to keep their secret. In the fall, they go their separate ways and their secret goes with them. And now it drives Ivy back home.
Her parents, Carolyn and Elam, are caught completely off guard. They want their daughter home, but are terrified she will run away again. But they agree that Ivy, Montana, and Lucia can live with them until Ivy gets her feet under her again, something that her parents know will be next to impossible in the tight job market in Jacob's Ear.
Ivy has no intentions of running away again. She has come home to face up to her past and is determined to do so once she's sure her son will have a home with his grandparents. But before she can confess to her part in the long-ago crime, bones are discovered at her father's new condo development. At long last, everyone else knows what she and her friends have kept secret for ten years—Joe Hadley wasn't a runaway or abducted, but murdered and buried, not far from his home.
The pressure mounts for Ivy to keep her part of the pact. Pete Barton has moved back to Jacob's Ear to run his parents' deli after his father's death. Reg and Denny have also meandered back to town for a “visit” and to keep up the pressure. But Ivy is tired of hiding her secret, of the guilt she's carried all of these years. As the sheriff tries to find the murderer, her ten year class reunion rolls around and by the end of the evening, the sheriff adds three more murders to his list. And Ivy is left to wonder if she's next.
Ever Present Danger is the first book in the Phantom Hollow series by Kathy Herman. Readers of her previous novels may recognize two of the characters in this book, Brandon Jones and his wife Kelsey, from Not By Chance, Book 4 in the Seaport Suspense series. Brandon is employed by the Three Peaks Christian Camp and Conference Center, owned by Elam Griffith. He's involved in a subplot of his own, one that may destroy his marriage before its first anniversary.
Ever Present Danger is a story of guilt and forgiveness, of responsibility and hope. Ivy has done terrible things in her past and has paid a heavy price. But putting things to right is something she is determined to do. But she can't do on her own. She needs the help and love of her friends and her family to find the courage to face up to her past and start anew. But will she live long enough to share the secret of Joe's long-ago death or will the murderer silence her before she can confess? Until the killer is caught, Ivy is in Ever Present Danger.
Cheryl Russell lives in the Midwest with her husband and three children. Her short stories, as well as a few articles, have been published in print and online. She's loved to read for as long as she can remember and puts all that time to good use writing book reviews for Infuze, Novel Reviews, and Title Trakk. She's also a member of the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, FIRST network, Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour and American Christian Fiction Writers. She's currently working on her first novel. If she could, she'd spend her time hanging out in the thermal areas of Yellowstone in general, Norris Geyser Basin in particular. Another favorite spot is Kennicott, an old copper mining town in Wrangel-St. Elias National Park, Alaska, which is at the end of a 60 mile dirt road, 8 hours west of Anchorage. She and her family are frequent hikers in the national parks, and have pounded the dirt trails in Virginia, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Montana, Wyoming and Alaska. You can visit her at her blog, Unseen Worlds or at her website.