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Sattler's Woods

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After losing his job as a newspaper reporter, Rory Callahan becomes obsessed with the murder investigation of three boys from twenty-two years ago, leading him to discover a small town’s dark secrets. In April 1992, three middle school boys disappeared while walking home through a dense stretch of woods looming at the edge of their school playground. Their bodies were dis After losing his job as a newspaper reporter, Rory Callahan becomes obsessed with the murder investigation of three boys from twenty-two years ago, leading him to discover a small town’s dark secrets. In April 1992, three middle school boys disappeared while walking home through a dense stretch of woods looming at the edge of their school playground. Their bodies were discovered five months later, miles away in a remote section of the New Jersey Pine Barrens. A pedophile, who lived in town with his mother, was quickly arrested and convicted of the crime, despite a lack of physical evidence. Twenty-two years later, Rory Callahan moves from Philadelphia to Hollingford, the small town in South Jersey where the grisly murders took place, to stay with his ailing mother. He has lost his job and his marriage, so the move is an escape for him as well. His initial boredom and sense of purposelessness vanish when he encounters Cindy Thompson, mother of the convicted killer, who is desperately trying to prove her son’s innocence all these years later. With the help of an idealistic young police officer named Jessica Daniels, Rory soon finds himself searching for the true killer of the three boys, an investigation that takes him to the door of a disturbingly cult-like, fundamentalist church, and into the sinister heart of the small town’s wealthiest, most powerful family.


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After losing his job as a newspaper reporter, Rory Callahan becomes obsessed with the murder investigation of three boys from twenty-two years ago, leading him to discover a small town’s dark secrets. In April 1992, three middle school boys disappeared while walking home through a dense stretch of woods looming at the edge of their school playground. Their bodies were dis After losing his job as a newspaper reporter, Rory Callahan becomes obsessed with the murder investigation of three boys from twenty-two years ago, leading him to discover a small town’s dark secrets. In April 1992, three middle school boys disappeared while walking home through a dense stretch of woods looming at the edge of their school playground. Their bodies were discovered five months later, miles away in a remote section of the New Jersey Pine Barrens. A pedophile, who lived in town with his mother, was quickly arrested and convicted of the crime, despite a lack of physical evidence. Twenty-two years later, Rory Callahan moves from Philadelphia to Hollingford, the small town in South Jersey where the grisly murders took place, to stay with his ailing mother. He has lost his job and his marriage, so the move is an escape for him as well. His initial boredom and sense of purposelessness vanish when he encounters Cindy Thompson, mother of the convicted killer, who is desperately trying to prove her son’s innocence all these years later. With the help of an idealistic young police officer named Jessica Daniels, Rory soon finds himself searching for the true killer of the three boys, an investigation that takes him to the door of a disturbingly cult-like, fundamentalist church, and into the sinister heart of the small town’s wealthiest, most powerful family.

30 review for Sattler's Woods

  1. 4 out of 5

    Terri Lynn

    I read this in a blaze! Rory Callahan was a newspaper reporter in Philadelphia when he lost his job and then pretty much screwed up his marriage to wife Marie by becoming an alcoholic. With their son grown and graduated from college, they divorced and Rory moved to the small town of Hollingford, New Jersey where his parents retired to and decided to stay to look after his widowed mother who is in the early stages of dementia/Alzheimer's. Like most small towns, in this one the government and busi I read this in a blaze! Rory Callahan was a newspaper reporter in Philadelphia when he lost his job and then pretty much screwed up his marriage to wife Marie by becoming an alcoholic. With their son grown and graduated from college, they divorced and Rory moved to the small town of Hollingford, New Jersey where his parents retired to and decided to stay to look after his widowed mother who is in the early stages of dementia/Alzheimer's. Like most small towns, in this one the government and business leaders carefully guard their town's reputation. This has led to injustices being done. Rory gets pulled into one upon arrival when he finds a threatening note that was slid under his mother's door. She thinks it is just a prank by a boy she taught in Philadelphia but that boy is grown, it has been many years, and he is not in the area or state and never was. Her stalker is very much a resident of the town and has a deadly secret to hide. An alarmed Rory notifies police but the cop is very patronizing and presumes it isn't important. Fortunately another cop, Jessica Daniels, overhears the conversation and stops Rory before he leaves. They don't know it then but the two of them will embark on a secret investigation which will not only solve the mystery of the stalker but also unmask the true murderer of 3 middle school boys 22 years earlier when Rory meets the mother of the man who has been in prison for the crime for many years, a man railroaded to protect someone else. I was annoyed with the author's endless use of "fuck" and "fucking" in the things Rory said because it was annoying, distracting, and frankly crude. None of the very best literature in the world has it used even once and a journalist should have a good vocabulary and not need to endlessly use vulgarity. It makes him sound sleazy and stupid. I was also annoyed by his endlessly drinking alcohol around the clock. This too detracted from the story. I liked that he treated his mom with love, patience and respect. He did things with her including watching movies and going to her Catholic church and even a little concert where the priest sang. This was sweet. One special example- his mother had forgotten that his dad died three years ago and wanted to make a cheesecake as a surprise for his birthday. When she could not find her springform pan to bake it in, Rory gently reminded her that his dad was dead and not coming home that night then suggested they go to the store to buy a new springform pan and bake a cheesecake they could eat to celebrate his dad's birthday to honor his memory. I also liked the character of police officer Jessica Daniels. She has an interesting back story of why she became a cop and she is a great cop! I also appreciated that she has a fire man boyfriend and that the author didn't have any romance or sex between Rory and Jessica. There are some unique characters in town, all with interesting stories, including the man wrongfully jailed for the murders and there is a creepy church that might have a connection with the deaths. I recommend this to anyone who likes well-done mystery/suspense/thrillers. I got to borrow and read it from Amazon's Kindle Unlimited library to which I have a paid subscription. This book alone was worth more than the monthly price of the subscription to me!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Karen Sprinsky

    Wow! What a great book! I loved every page. The story kept me on the edge from beginning to end! I would definitely recommend it!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Atkinson

    I found this book amazing rory moves back home when his marriage ends to live with his mom who has been having memory issues..he meets jess daniels who is a police officer and both decide to look into the murders of 3 boys 22 years ago rory is a freelance writer and feels this story needs to be told with a man sitting in jail all these years ago that might be innocent...but every where they look everyone seems to want the story to go away and be forgotton but some stories need to be told no matt I found this book amazing rory moves back home when his marriage ends to live with his mom who has been having memory issues..he meets jess daniels who is a police officer and both decide to look into the murders of 3 boys 22 years ago rory is a freelance writer and feels this story needs to be told with a man sitting in jail all these years ago that might be innocent...but every where they look everyone seems to want the story to go away and be forgotton but some stories need to be told no matter what....

  4. 5 out of 5

    McCaid Paul

    (3.5, rounded down) Let me just throw this right out there: Sean Thomas has potential to become a GREAT mystery writer. He definitely has certain elements that make his writing as masterful as any of the big names in crime fiction. Sattler's Woods weaved an interesting mystery and a twisty plot around the town of Hollingford and its central characters. As a mystery writer myself, I always hope the mystery will be compelling enough to keep the reader turning the pages, and this one definitely was (3.5, rounded down) Let me just throw this right out there: Sean Thomas has potential to become a GREAT mystery writer. He definitely has certain elements that make his writing as masterful as any of the big names in crime fiction. Sattler's Woods weaved an interesting mystery and a twisty plot around the town of Hollingford and its central characters. As a mystery writer myself, I always hope the mystery will be compelling enough to keep the reader turning the pages, and this one definitely was. It had me constantly thinking of possible suspects, or people that could somehow be related to the crime that left three young boys murdered. So many authors, whether they realize it or not, will drift to other topics besides the main mystery, adding extra fluff that there doesn't need to be. Fortunately, this story didn't suffer from that. Instead, Sattler's Woods took a long while to unfold, before finally giving up its secrets in the last ten pages. I understand that this is a slow-burning mystery, but at times it lagged, and there were scenes that never ended up contributing to the story. It would have been better if the author could've briefly summed these up and moved on to something worth our time. And then there was the long, confusing dialogue that would go on forever, mainly by Officer Daniels. There was never a break, and ten pages later, it would still continue. Maybe an editor or perhaps another around of proper editing would have fixed some of this. There were also numerous grammar and punctuation mistakes. I get that most books have a few errors, but this went way over the amount most of them do. Besides this, and some loose threads that were never tied up, this was a very intriguing mystery, with solid, raw emotion at its core. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this for crime fans in need for a decent murder mystery.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    Wow- what a surprise! I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. I didn’t know the author but thought the plot sounded interesting and I was not disappointed. This is the story of a former reporter who after losing his job, subsequently lost his wife, son and self-respect. Moving back in with his mother, he finds himself drawn to reinvestigate a 22 year old murder of three pre-teen boys. While the murderer was easily convicted and was serving time in prison, there were a few others who also disput Wow- what a surprise! I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. I didn’t know the author but thought the plot sounded interesting and I was not disappointed. This is the story of a former reporter who after losing his job, subsequently lost his wife, son and self-respect. Moving back in with his mother, he finds himself drawn to reinvestigate a 22 year old murder of three pre-teen boys. While the murderer was easily convicted and was serving time in prison, there were a few others who also disputed the findings. This was a fast paced, exciting story and while I felt I knew the direction the plot was going, the ending still delivered. 4 1/2 stars easy.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Carrie

    Interesting read. Very engrossing. Wrapped up pretty quickly at the end. Almost a little too quick. I like a story where you are given enough of the information to form your own hypothesis about ‘who dunnit’ but I didn’t necessarily feel that was possible with this book.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mary Meade Evans

    Sattlers woods The book held my attention and had some interesting twists along the way. I give it a Rating about 3.5

  8. 4 out of 5

    Anita Hargreaves

    Won this, gripped, we'll written and not for faint hearted Won this, gripped, we'll written and not for faint hearted

  9. 4 out of 5

    Joan

    Having lost his job, Rory Callahan allowed his alcoholism to destroy his marriage. Returning home to stay with his mother, Kathleen, who is having memory issues, he discovers a threatening letter lying on the floor just inside the door. Although his mother considers it a prank and is unconcerned, when Rory discovers it is not the first slipped-beneath-the-door delivery, he fears someone is stalking her. He takes the matter to the police only to find them strangely unwilling to pursue an investig Having lost his job, Rory Callahan allowed his alcoholism to destroy his marriage. Returning home to stay with his mother, Kathleen, who is having memory issues, he discovers a threatening letter lying on the floor just inside the door. Although his mother considers it a prank and is unconcerned, when Rory discovers it is not the first slipped-beneath-the-door delivery, he fears someone is stalking her. He takes the matter to the police only to find them strangely unwilling to pursue an investigation. After his efforts to find employment with the local paper fail, Rory decides to freelance a story and interviews the mother of a man incarcerated for the murders of three young boys some twenty-two years ago. But the townspeople are reluctant to discuss the matter and, with the unofficial assistance of an idealistic police officer, Rory digs into story. But can he find the truth or will the town’s dark secrets claim him as another victim? Well-developed characters and sweet moments, such as Rory’s patience with and obvious love for his mother, are indicative of talented writing. However, given the predictable storyline, astute readers are likely to identify the culprits long before the narrative’s reveal; there are no unforeseen surprises built into this tightly-woven plot. Many readers are likely to find the repeated use of gratuitous expletives and crude language throughout this story to be both offensive and off-putting. It’s unnecessary, it’s detrimental to the telling of the tale, and it diminishes the talented writing of the author.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Sattler's Woods follows Rory Callahan, a recently divorced, unemployed alcoholic as he moves back to a small town to help care for his ailing mother. He quickly becomes obsessed with researching the murder of three boys from over 20 years ago in the town after speaking with the convicted killer's mother and feeling that the wrong man has been incarcerated. From here, the story encounters corrupt police, a cult-like church and many more sinister characters as Rory tries to solve who really murder Sattler's Woods follows Rory Callahan, a recently divorced, unemployed alcoholic as he moves back to a small town to help care for his ailing mother. He quickly becomes obsessed with researching the murder of three boys from over 20 years ago in the town after speaking with the convicted killer's mother and feeling that the wrong man has been incarcerated. From here, the story encounters corrupt police, a cult-like church and many more sinister characters as Rory tries to solve who really murdered those 3 boys so many years ago. After seeing this book available on the giveaways page, I kept entering and entering with hopes I would win. At the end of the day, I can't remember if I did win it or if I just finally went on Amazon Kindle and got it. The plot of the book had me interested but unfortunately this book just didn't cut it for me. I didn't care whatsoever about Rory and his investigation was just weak. I didn't like how the whole book came together, especially the end. I felt like the story could have been developed a lot more. Overall, wasn't my cup of tea.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Michele

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kemi

  13. 4 out of 5

    Juliet

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rhonda Houser

  15. 5 out of 5

    Levi Ryan

  16. 5 out of 5

    Pam Jessen

  17. 4 out of 5

    Connie Simpson

  18. 4 out of 5

    Corinne Welsh

  19. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn Darnell

  20. 5 out of 5

    Michele Costigan

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sherry Melaragno

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sweetpea

  23. 4 out of 5

    Llmurphypa Murphy

  24. 5 out of 5

    carolyn morrison

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jenafer

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mahala Church

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kim

  28. 5 out of 5

    Meaghan Daly

  29. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  30. 5 out of 5

    Dennis J Coyle

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