Welcome to Onward Illinois, a town reeling from the disappearance of a set of triplet babies. A town that has been local down by the authorities in a bid to solve the case. This isn’t the first time this has happened, 15 years ago the sheriff teenage triplet daughters, known as the Blondies, also disappeared, although most of the town’s residents assumed that they just left town, or just didn’t care as it meant that the terror trio of bullies were no longer their problem. So does the new disappearance have any links to the past. Chief suspect Coren Raines, the towns newcomer is set squarely in the sights of the town sheriff, the wonderfully twisted and downright evil, Pritchard. Who is determined to get a confession one way or another.
We are introduced to a group of characters who are really rather unsympathetic, it’s a bold move for an author to write a story where the majority of characters are unlikeable. Sheriff Pritchard, is for want of a better word an asshole, it’s his way which is usually pointed out with the business end of his Magnum. Having said that Pritchard is a great character, whenever he appeared in the story I was put in mind of Clancy Brown from Pet Cemetery.
As the story unwinds along two time lines, we find out what happened 15 years between the Blondies and one of their victims, and the two men who come to her rescue, and how those actions impact on the present day tale. This is good story with some excellent turns of phrases, the tension builds nicely as the story unfolds, and the scenes involving the showdown between Sheriff Pritchard and Detective Barter are a blood soaked nail biting tour de force. Be warned though this is a story without a cliché ridden Hollywood happy ending
Blood Orchard is my second encounter with the S.D. Hintz, my first being the rather good novella Charnell Harbour. With Blood Orchard you can really see that Hintz has delveoped and matured as writer, the story reads with a lot more confidence. I would recommend picking this up along with a copy of Charnell Harbour.
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