Sara McCall was bludgeoned with a baseball bat 10 years ago. At the time, the sheriff never really did a full investigation; rather, he made up his mind that her sister, Katherine, was the killer. She was arrested, put on trial and found not guilty. The verdict did not sit well with anyone in town, thus immediately making Kat an outcast. Consequently, she packed her things and moved to Seattle, where she started a very successful chain of bakeries.
But on the 10th anniversary of the murder, Kat decides to return to Liberty and pursue her own investigation into her sister’s death. When she arrives “home,” vandals had written in black paint “We know u did it.” She knew her return would stir up the town, but didn’t think it would be so soon or so painful to see. Even though she is shaking, she starts toward the cottage that has been made ready by her cousin, Jeremy. Her first visitor is Sergeant Luke Tanner. Upon learning that he is the son of Chief Stephen Tanner, the man who railroaded her a decade ago, Kat doesn’t trust this guy either.
"This is a perfect summer read or one to cuddle up with when the weather changes. Erica Spindler is known for her straight prose and finely honed characters; in JUSTICE FOR SARA, she hits her mark again."
That is how Erica Spindler begins JUSTICE FOR SARA, her latest captivating thriller. Over the years, someone (Kat named him or her “the fan”) tracked down Kat and has been sending her a plethora of menacing letters. She has saved every one and brought them with her on this trip. She has no idea who the writer is, but is determined to find out. The only person who welcomes her back to Liberty, Louisiana, is her cousin, Jeremy. They once had a close relationship, and he doesn’t believe she killed Sara. He is married to Lilith, a cold, hard woman who hates Kat on sight and does not make this homecoming welcoming in any way.
When Kat tracks down her oldest and closest friends from her teenage life, she is shocked at how much they hate her. Their lives have changed too, and as far as they are concerned, Kat could wreak havoc on their adult lives. In her youth, Kat was thought of as a wild child who was disrespectful to her sister and a liar. They were always fighting, and Sara wanted Kat to leave the people she hung out with. Neighbors heard them fighting, and in their last brawl, Kat told Sara that she wished she was dead. Then she got her wish; no wonder everyone turned against her. And Sara was seriously considering sending Kat to boarding school. If she knew, this would add to the motive for killing her sister, according to the Chief of Police.
With only Luke and Jeremy on her side, Kat doesn’t have much help in her search for justice. She comes to realize that she is seeking more than justice for Sara; she is seeking justice for herself. But is it worth her life? She has received so many threats and has not been able to sleep. She even found a baseball bat just like the one that killed Sara tied with a red ribbon when she returned home. Who amongst the friends and enemies she made as she grew up in this small insular town really hates her that much? And will she be able to fend them off before she suffers the same fate as Sara?
This is a perfect summer read or one to cuddle up with when the weather changes. Erica Spindler is known for her straight prose and finely honed characters; in JUSTICE FOR SARA, she hits her mark again.
Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum on August 9, 2013