Blood Atonement Review
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Over one hundred years ago, at the age of fourteen, Sarah defied her religion, refusing to marry the sixty-seven-year-old man who had been chosen to be her husband. On a night fraught with terror and blood, she disappears with the young man she loves. Her defiance echoes into this century, and now someone is out for blood atonement.

A single mother in Queens Park, England is murdered and left out in her garden for everyone to see. Her fourteen-year-old daughter is missing, and no motive is apparent. Detective Chief Inspector Grant Foster begins to look into the dead womanís past, delving for clues as to why she was killed and her daughter taken. His search takes him back to a similar caseóanother single mother dead and her fourteen-year-old daughter missing. Authorities believed that the mother overdosed on drugs and her daughter ran away. As far as they were concerned, the case was open and shut.

With the help of genealogist Nigel Barnes, Foster follows the trail back to a couple who fled the USA for Victorian England near the end of the 19th century. What they turn up is a gruesome picture of vengeance involving the Mormon Church and some of their religious practices. And itís not over yet. So Foster sets out to protect a young boy who just might be the next victim if Nigel fails to uncover the shameful and horrid truth within the branches of a twisted family tree.

Blood Atonement is a fascinating mixture of genealogy, history, vengeance, and murder. Itís frightening to see how a religion can get twisted into something that no longer resembles what it started out to beóall to justify a string of actions that seemingly has nothing to do with religion or a Higher Power.

What makes Blood Atonement so uniquely terrifying is that a killer stalks the descendents of an ancestor who broke religious law, which led to a tragedy, to exact revenge. The victims are normal, everyday people who have no idea that theyíre even a target, which makes the murdererís motive even scarier.

Nigel Barnes is a different kind of investigator, whose genealogical searches bring a refreshing perspective to the same old murder cases. His look into ancestry DNA is particularly intriguing. For instance, certain DNA markers can tell you if and when Native American blood entered your family tree, even hundreds of years ago. How cool is that?

With its original plot, chilling mystery, and unique characters, Blood Atonement kept me under its spell. I was reluctant to set it aside until all of the clues came together and the mystery was solved. Blood Atonement gets a rare wow from meóand I know that Iíll be reading past and future novels by Dan Waddell.

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