Author: Elise K. Ackers
I am very glad I stopped resisting the pull of Small Town Storm and picked it up. This story is full of mystery and intrigue, and not a little bit of blood. It is also a gorgeous romance with beautifully tender moments to warm your heart.
Elise K. Ackers has woven a tale that kept me engrossed start to finish, and I did not want to put down. There are so many intertwined elements of this story that I am a little stuck on how to approach it without giving too much away.
Erica Lawrence and Jordan Hill were best of friends as children, always together and often getting up to mischief. Always he was there to look after her and when she started getting sick he wanted nothing more than to be able to find the cure and make her well. The two lived in houses directly across the street from one another and on the nights Erica was sick Jordan would sneak across the road and climb up to her second floor window to keep her company. The two are hiding under her bed talking on the night it all comes to an end and the two are separated.
Nineteen years later Erica returns for the first time to the small town of Olinda, the home of her childhood and hopefully the place that she will find the answers she has been seeking for so long.
Jordan Hill grew up to follow his dreams and become a police officer, his promotion to Leading Senior Constable sees him stationed in his childhood home town of Olinda – starting around the same time Erica returns. He moved to Melbourne as soon as he could and has only visited the town sporadically through the years leaving him out of touch with the locals yet still very attached and connected to his close knit family.
Coinciding with the return to town of childhood besties Jordan and Erica is the beginning of a string of brutal murders, which seem to point directly to Erica. Both Jordan and Erica wanted answers, to gain some closure and understanding of the events that tore them apart that night but how much digging can they do into their past while there’s a brutal murderer in their present.
Erica is determined to be a survivor, she doesn’t want to be the victim anymore, and that means that she refuses to let anyone be her knight in shining armour – even Jordan Hill who cast himself into the role more than 20 years ago. Now that he has finally been reunited with Erica he tries to step back into the role, even as Erica resists it at every step. These two suffered immeasurably as a result of that night nineteen years ago and the events leading up to it, they are still learning just how far that damage cuts and being back in Olinda is helping as much as it’s hurting.
The suspense is well built and drawn out leaving the imagination running wild. There are connections and the further into the investigation we get the more names become involved, though none of the locals are serious suspects none of them are above suspicion either. It certainly kept me guessing, and jumping to a few different conclusions but I don’t think there was a time that I jumped to the right one.
In the end the case was tied together neatly and everything explained away beautifully, maybe a little too beautifully.
Erica and Jordan have definite chemistry, from their first meeting there are sparks and unfinished business. Erica may have been whisked away from town that night but it wasn’t only her that suffered, those left behind were affected also. 8 year old Jordan could come to no other conclusion from her continuing silence than that she hadn’t survived so imagine his surprise when she arrived in town looking both gorgeous and healthy; his long held belief shattered he deals with her reappearance rather badly and lashes out at her, not making the greatest of first impressions.
Much of their early interaction is very reminiscent of childhood behaviour with the petulance, sulking and lashing out – and extreme selfishness. You can see through each of these flare ups that the connection they shared as children hasn’t faded, Jordan still wants to be her knight in shining armour and as much as Erica wants to be strong enough to be a survivor she needs to feel that someone cares that much.
The emotional ties binding these two are very strong, they are the definition of soulmates and that is something that was noticed by the town right from when they were children growing up together.
Small Town Storm was intriguing and interesting, exploring Erica’s psychological issues alongside the small town mentality and gossip and the investigation of the murders, and the blossoming of new relationships and the renewing of old friendships. A book I really enjoyed and will look forward to more from Elise K. Ackers in the future.