Two churches, two ministers, two wives, one murder. While on patrol in the central California foothills near Rocky Bluff, Officer Stacey Wilbur spots a car crashed into a giant oak tree. A woman is slumped against the steering wheel, blood pooling on the floor mats. Stacey calls the incident in to her colleague and special friend, Detective Doug Milligan, then secures the scene and waits for emergency crews. The rescue squad confirms Wilbur s judgment. The woman is dead, but it s soon apparent the crash had little to do with her death. There is a bullet hole behind her ear. The car belongs to the minister of a local church with an upscale congregation, and the dead woman on the front seat is his wife. When Wilbur gives the minister the bad news, it is met with aloofness bordering on unconcern. The typical suspect the spouse first theory ratchets up a few ticks in Stacey Wilbur s analytical mind. Before that jells, however, Wilbur learns there is a potential other woman in the mix. As she sorts through the elements of the case, Stacey tries to find enough time to explore her feelings for Doug Milligan.
"WOW, what a fabulous book! In the very beginning I wondered if I was going to enjoy this book as much as I have Marilyn's other novels, but before long I was absolutely gripped by the unique plot and didn't want to put it down to work, eat, or sleep. Truly.
The main character, as in the other Rocky Bluff P.D. series, is Officer Stacey Wilbur. But other officers in the department are along for the ride and a thrilling ride it is. The books slips easily from one to another of the men working in the RBPD, letting each tell his story (Stacey seems to be the only female officer) and bringing family members and situations into the plot. Point of view moves smoothly from life to life as we learn the problems and joys--at home and at work--that the several officers face. They are working on several cases, and we go back and forth from one to another, making progress, experiencing frustrations, and always digging and digging for clues and answers. Its like the world's best ride-along!
I became involved with each of the men and their families--not to mention Stacey and her growing relationship with Detective Doug Milligan--and felt I understood very well much of what a law enforcement career involves. It goes right along with and helps verify all I have learned from my law officer friends and my own research into the life of Henry King, (from the "To Die For" series) now retired from the Kansas City Police Department. My next series novel is set partly in two police departments, Van Buren, AR (small town) and Kansas City (very large department) so this was a wonderful return to all that I enjoyed discovering while writing that story.
Anyone who has the slightest interest in anything to do with police work will love SMELL OF DEATH by F. M. Meredith. As you can tell, I sure did.
I can't recommend this book highly enough. Give it a few pages and you'll be hooked like I was."
-- Radine Trees Nehring
"Riveting, fast-paced, and filled with twists and turns, No Sanctuary by F.M. Meredith is a crime fiction reader's dream.
Officer Stacey Wilbur is the first on the scene of a one-car accident. A green Toyota has smashed into an oak tree and the female driver is dead. But it soon becomes obvious that the accident is a cover up for murder.
The victim is the wife of a popular local minister, and her preacher husband soon becomes the most likely suspect. Gossip in town tells of trouble in their marriage, but as Stacey and Doug start putting pieces together, they find several other likely suspects who could have wanted Mallory Cookmeyer dead.
Called away from the case to work on a special assignment, Stacey is faced with decisions that will impact her career and her budding romance with Doug Milligan, and most likely, put her in harms way.
When we last heard from Stacey Wilbur in Smell of Death, she had broken her long-standing rule of never dating anyone she works with and entered into a relationship with Doug. This gives an already strong character even more depth. A widow, she has been caring for her son Davey with the help of her parents, while trying to juggle a challenging and dangerous career. Having lost her husband in the line of duty, a relationship with Doug offers similiar dangers, but it's really their difficult work schedules that make nurturing their relationship tough on Doug and Stacey.
One of the things that Meredith does best with the Rocky Bluff P.D. series is show not only the official side to her characters, but also how working in law enforcement impacts these people's lives--not just the members of the police force, but also their families. I could easily see these books being turned into a television crime series.
Meredith is also wise in making each one truly a stand alone book. These stories focus on different members of the Rocky Bluff P.D. These aren't just Stacey's stories; they are Doug's, Gordon Butler's, Abel Navarro's, Rick Strickland's, and others who are or were part of the Rocky Bluff P.D.
There are many twists and turns in No Sanctuary, as the reader is led to believe it might be the husband, but then it might be someone on his staff or someone from the church. And this mystery propels the story forward to an exciting and satisfying conclusion.
As with Smell of Death--which we reviewed here--Meredith breaks up all the seriousness with a bit of humor. This time it is mostly brought on by Officer Gordon Butler who rents a room from Doug and who happens to walk in on Doug and Stacey at the worst times. In addition, the banter between Doug and Stacey about the outfit she chooses for her special assignment lightens things up and makes the reader want to see more of these two together in the future.
A fast and suspense-filled read for crime lovers. Pick up a copy of No Sanctuary today!"
--Cheryl C. Malandrinos, The Book Connection
"A car accident or a murder? That is the question Officer Stacey Wilbur faces when she find a car smashed into a tree while working the night shift for the Rocky Bluffs Police Department. Stacey immediately phones Detective Doug Milligan who responds to the scene. It doesn’t take long to figure out that the victim had been shot in the head.
The victim is identified as Mallory Cookmeyer, wife of a prominent local minister. Rev. Paul Cookmeyer is shocked to hear of his wife’s death but can offer no suggestions as to who might want her dead. As Doug and Stacey and the other detectives work the case they find that there are a number of suspects including Paul Cookmeyer, his secretary, Ms Danfelt, the choir director, a minister of another church as well as that minister’s wife. When it is revealed that Mallory was pregnant, the case becomes even more complicated.
Stacey and Doug work together but are also romantically involved. Their relationship has not progressed rapidly since Stacey has a young son to rush home too and since they both work different shifts, their hours make dating difficult.
No Sanctuary is a good mystery with a bit of a surprise ending. Peeks into the lives of some of the other officers in the department make for interesting reading. Stacey leaves the investigation for a brief stint as an undercover officer, which adds another dimension to the story."
REVIEWED BY PATRICIA REID, Best Sellers World
"Hail, fellow readers!
Before you pick up a book by F.M. Meredith, do yourself a favor—reserve time for an uninterrupted read. Once you start reading, you won’t want to stop. No matter the topic, this author has an undeniable gift for hooking readers from page one and not letting go until its conclusion. No Sanctuary delivers well-developed characters and an intriguing plot with a surprising twist at the end. Congratulations, F.M. Meredith, on another winner. No Sanctuary qualifies as a fast and satisfying read. Loved it!"
-- -- Karen Kavanagh, former Co-president of Sisters in Crime-CCC.