Saturday, January 21, 2023

Book Review: Exile, Texas by Rachel Caine

Exile, Texas

Rachel Caine
Publication: Open Road Media Mystery & Thriller (October 19, 2021)

Description: New York Times–Bestselling Author: A woman long suspected of murder returns to her hometown as a PI—and soon finds her own life at risk . . .

Most folks in Exile, Texas, think Megan Leary got away with murder. Megan was acquitted of her mother’s vicious killing after someone else confessed—but suspicion still shadows her fifteen years later. Now a private investigator, she’s come back to help a friend look for her missing teenage daughter—and it’s not just gossip that’s being stirred up.

Sheriff’s Deputy Dan Fox wasn’t sure what to think of Megan or her mysterious past when he pulled her over for speeding. But suddenly, people are dying—and Dan may have to decide whether he can put his trust in Megan to ensure both of them survive . . .

My Thoughts: This romantic suspense title is a little unusual because it is told by the male lead. Dan Fox has left his career as a homicide detective in Houston and called on the current sheriff of Exile, Texas - an old college friend - for a job. We begin the story getting hints of the reason why he changed jobs and the guilt he feels.

The story begins with him stopping a woman for speeding. Megan Leary hasn't been back to Exile since she left it at 15. She was accused and acquitted of murdering her mother with a shotgun. While she was in jail, she was raped by four of the deputies. That rape led to her suing the town and winning $3 million, It seems that no one in town wants her back and everyone blames her for the hard times the town is going through. Especially bitter is Deputy Lew Peyser who is the son of the lead rapist and blames Megan for his father's imprisonment and suicide. 

Megan's reason for returning to Exile has to do with the disappearance of teenaged Aurelia who is the daughter of one of Megan's childhood friends. With Dan commanded by his friend the sheriff to stay close to Megan, the two begin an investigation which uncovers a number of the town's dirtiest secrets. 

Dan believes that the girl ran away as she had said she was going to do, Megan thinks the boyfriend - Javier Nieves - likely has something to do with her disappearance. Nieves is a member of one of the most violent gangs in the area. 

But Megan wants to take a look at her mother's death while she's in town since she never believed that her father, who confessed to the crime, had anything to do with it. Dan has questions too, and the case files add more questions than they answer.

When the house Megan inherited from her mother is set on fire with Megan inside, it becomes clear that someone really doesn't want Megan and Dan to dig into the past. 

The story is filled with all sorts of twists and turns and more than enough sketchy characters. I liked the way Megan and Dan manage to work together to solve the case. I also liked learning more about Dan's backstory and the reasons he found himself in Exile, Texas.

Favorite Quote:
There's something great and intensely satisfying about rage. Things get very simple. I was going to the grain elevator. I was going to find the Impala, was going to shove my foot up the ass of the kid -- hopefully, Javier Nieves -- who thought shooting a gun was the answer to his problems. 
I bought this one March 20, 2022. You can buy your copy here.

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