In Door County—the “Cape Cod” of Wisconsin—evil is lurking…
As Detective Sydney Bernhardt jogs along the limestone cliff, high above the waters of Lake Michigan, she discovers a child-like body floating face down—arms spread—dark hair haloing the head—the power of each wave rhythmically butting it against the deadly wall. This suspicious death sparks Syd into action to uncover the truth behind the victim’s sexually confused past—and to reclaim Syd’s own life. But as she follows this complex trail through nature’s beauty, Syd unknowingly becomes both a confidante and prey for that evil.
Book Reviews for Circle of Innocence
Circle of Innocence is set in Wisconsin and opens with loner Detective Sydney Bernhardt, who has no romance in her life, lives with her dog inside a former migrant cherry-pickers’ cottage on her family’s Wisconsin acreage, and (at age thirty-two) feels she has no real life outside of work. All this is about to change when she stumbles on the body of the daughter of a local café owner and embarks on an investigation of the girl's past that, surprisingly, provokes Sydney to analyze her own relationships, decisions and their aftermath.
What begins as a singular murder investigation turns into something more serious when a pre-teen who matches the dead girl's physical description goes missing. Now there's a trail of crumbs leading to a possible local serial killer and underlying community secrets: a trail that, surprisingly, continues to involve Sydney in the kind of investigation that hits too close to home.
Circle of Innocence provides more depth of character and local history than your typical murder mystery, offering many insights into past and present worlds that together create circles of connection: "One of Syd’s earliest memories was of hearing her grandmother singing “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” while walking her rough fingers up Syd’s chubby arms. Ever since, she’d called her grandmother “Bitsy,” and so had Syd’s closest friends."
Crime and suspense novels typically omit such tidbits in favor of streamlining plots and eliminating background, but including such details results in an added richness of plot filled with insights into underlying motivations, historical precedence, and community connections.
Another notable device employed by Lynda Drews is that of including psychology profiles of the main protagonists. Readers gain a thorough knowledge of not just what's happening (which is easy enough to provide in your typical whodunit crime/mystery/suspense saga), but why: "Tonight, within this familiar room, Syd felt swaddled by the warmth of her family. Carli Lacount’s death had given her a reality check. For two years, Syd had pitied herself as multiple tragedies had clobbered her in tidal waves. Yet through it all, she’d known, she’d been intensely loved."
Add more than a touch of romantic possibility and you have a fast-paced crime/suspense story that excels in psychological depth and detail even as it exposes a community replete with secrets and hidden threats. Any who want a strong saga of abduction, murder, and evolving danger will find Circle of Innocence fits the bill. ~ Diane Donovan ~ Midwest Book Review
"Every shocking twist in CIRCLE OF INNOCENCE lands on the reader like waves on a Door County beach, as Drews explores the dark heart of a beautiful place." --Brian Freeman, Bestselling Author of THE BONE HOUSE
“Drews’ plot has more twists and surprises than the winding back roads of Door County! Whether you're a fan of mystery novels, of Door County, or both, you'll find Circle of Innocence hard to put down.” Sean Ryan, Director of Door County Century, Door County Triathlon and the Fall 50