Killer Nashville Book of the Day


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S.G. Redling

Baggage by S.G. Redling
Reviewed by Shelley Haley

We all have a past. It can be good or bad; nonetheless, it is there as sure as your shadow. The trick is to find a way to embrace the sun. Anna Ray, protagonist of S.G. Redling’s Baggage (Thomas & Mercer) has yet to embrace her sun—which she offsets by embracing wine or beer in large quantities. Nonetheless, she manages to maintain a semblance of normalcy as she starts a new life in a small town in southern West Virginia. Baggage pulls the unsuspecting reader into the storyline headfirst, causing them growing curiosity and concern.

The beautiful, snow-capped Allegheny Mountains become a soothing balm for Anna’s aching heart, but memories of her youth, and of the recent dissolution of her marriage, continue to hold her captive. This bottomless pit of pain profoundly intensifies every February 17th, the anniversary of not one, but two horrific past life experiences. Anna’s cousin Jeannie Conroy anticipates her urgent need for companionship and comfort on this dreaded day, and arrives for a visit. The two decide to spend the night out on the town, riding out the darkness together with food, laughter and alcohol.

But on a day that should be dedicated to much-needed recovery, Anna walks into a crime scene upon her arrival to work. Art professor Ellis Trachtenberg—who just happened to be handsome and available—has been murdered and mutilated, creating a maelstrom of turmoil for the community as well as for Anna.

The brutality of the crime is unexpected in this quiet, snow-covered town, and the gossip and subsequent police inquisition brings with it a flood of tragic memories and reprises Anna’s disdain for the police. A well-kept secret has been unearthed, set free by a maniacal mind with a profound need for “justice”. With only her cousin Jeannie and “mother hen” boss Meredith alongside her, Anna tries to maintain her composure. An investigation is never pleasant, especially when one becomes a suspect…

We all carry some “baggage”. The question remains: how does one effectively unload it? It is difficult to carry the day-to-day weight of emotional burdens whilst never uttering a word to a soul. S.G. Redling’s Baggage offers a direct view into a struggling young woman’s life; so effectively that one desires to carry the baggage for her! A fascinating read with a dramatic conclusion, this compelling emotional roller coaster is not to be missed!

Shelley Haley is an eccentric artist, reader of novels, writer of chronicles fueled by an insatiable fascination with history and the lessons that lie therein, prone to wanderlust and born under the sign of Aquarius.

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