The Secret on Riverwind Road


NadineLyleSounds of breaking undergrowth drew the men’s attention to something moving toward them from near the barn.

Leo grabbed his gun.

Norm pulled his pistol.

Bill said, “It’s okay, guys. Just ‘ol Sis comin’ back.” He dropped to one knee and welcomed his dog’s return with some kind of treasure in her mouth. “Hey, buddy. What you got there?”

Sis rushed up and dropped something at her master’s feet—a stick, everyone assumed.

“Oh, no, Pal. Dad’s in no mood for fetch.” He swept whatever it was away with one hand and made a sour face. “Hey, what the hell is that? Can you reach it, Leo?”

Leo could reach it, but he dropped it posthaste. “Jesus! That smells like puke!”

Because it was puke, all over a small tennis shoe, one that might have been worn by an 11 year old girl. With all three flashlights ablaze and guns at the ready, the three men and the dog carefully surveyed the area, first around the barn itself, then out along the tractor lane leading to Riverwind Road.

As the beams from the flashlights moved slowly, they at first revealed only weeds and stones and tree rubble and tire tracks, but then something else appeared: a foot—just the size that would fit the puked-on tennis shoe. It was attached to a leg, and that to a torso: the completely naked torso of a female child. She was dead and had been for some time. Her skull had been so badly crushed that it took the men a few minutes to conclude that it was indeed the remains of little Carla Graf.

“My god!” Leo groaned, the father of two girls himself. “What kind of thing could do something like this?”

“Over here, guys,” Bill said from a few feet away. “I think we got the ‘thing’ right here.”

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Professional Review

The Secret on Riverwind Road

There are a few things a reader can expect from a Larry Long book: It will be both intriguing and exciting, delve deeply into social issues, and include an unexpected twist. In his latest effort, The Secret on Riverwind Road, Long is up to his old tricks in this mystery about a heinous crime committed against an innocent young girl. Set in a small town in 1958, Long touches on a range of issues that continue to be relevant today, including racial discord, wrongful convictions, and the struggle for an individual to do the right thing. The Secret on Riverwind Road, out of the three books by Long that I have reviewed (including A Summer Out of Time and Flight to Avoid), offers the most surprises and the deepest exploration of cultural norms.

The Secret on Riverwind Road is a combination of mystery, suspense, and romance that challenges readers to examine an array of social issues.

Melissa Brown Levine
for Independent Professional Book Reviewers

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