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During WWII a young soldier, Jack Kittridge is killed on one of the last days of the battle for the Philippines. That death secretly tortures Augustus Ivy, or "Gus" as he's called, and sets off a series of unexpected reactions and responses extending far into the future. Jack's parents initially send a gift of $1,000 and a western novel called The Cavity Lake Gang by M. B. Bower to every member of Jack's Eleventh Airborne Division still living. It turns out the book and its dust jacket are worth a fortune but only for those who can figure out a code within the book that will lead to unknown wealth.
Unfortunately, shortly after Gus hears the story behind this book and buys that book and others his barber has been meaning to throw out, the barber is found tortured and murdered and Gus's sister, Allison, is kidnapped. The threat is all too real - surrender the book or Allie dies. To add even more mystery to the drama, Cassidy Bower, the granddaughter of M. B. Bower, arrives on the scene to discuss the book's contents but doesn't reveal much. How much should Gus and his ex-cop brother-in-law, Bryce, trust Cassidy? If they turn over the book, will Allie be released? Just why has Cassidy Bower shown up at this point of the troubles involving this rather convoluted Western novel?
A trip to a Navajo reservation soon thickens the mystery yet provides healing peace for more than one character. It turns out the code within the book may or may not be Navajo in origin but Gus and Cassidy need to trust each other another to delve further into the mystery. Their connection is just warming up, for sure!
Buried Lies is a finely constructed mystery that shows a definite maturity in Peter Rennebohm's writing style as far as delineating the central mystery and its finer sub-plot threads connecting characters and action to a very satisfying resolution. Cassidy's rather stilted language seems odd until the reader discovers the reason for it but she's an appealing female character who, with the Navajo residents, transform Gus into a wise, caring individual who begins to forgive himself for a long-held, dark secret - a nice aside that blends perfectly with the puzzle awaiting discovery!
Very nicely done, Peter Rennebohm!
Reviewed by Viviane Crystal on July 20, 2008