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Article first published as Book Review: Vanished Sisters by Rachel Poe on Blogcritics.

June 8, 2016

Vanished Sisters
Rachel Poe
Alabaster Book Publishing (2016)
ISBN: 978-0-9861790-7-5

Mystery Surrounding Two Sisters Turns Into American Security Crisis in New Novel

Vanished Sisters by Rachel PoeMark Goodman, a forensic professor, has never forgotten the magical place of his childhood that he thinks of as Camelot. The North Carolina mountain community where he and his sister Anne spent their summers with his grandparents holds such a special place in his heart that when Anne tells him a piece of property is for sale in the area, he and his wife Carrie go to look it over, thinking they might buy it for a summer home.

The property had belonged to the elderly Hawkins’ sisters, whom Mark had grown up calling Aunt Eva and Aunt Ida. The sisters had mysteriously disappeared a few years back, and eventually, the property went on the real estate market. Mark can’t imagine a better place to spend relaxing summers with his family, but that thought is quickly shattered when a bullet rings out as the Goodmans are looking at the property and Mark is nearly shot. Mark wants to believe the bullet was just a coincidence—a stray hunter’s bullet—but when he sees human bones in the well on the property, he immediately knows better. Someone does not want Mark and Carrie on that property.

A police investigation quickly turns into an FBI and CIA investigation when it becomes clear that the elderly sisters were murdered and that the murderers have been secretly carrying out illegal activities on the property. What has happened to the Camelot of Mark’s childhood? Many of the good, God-fearing neighbors are the same ones he knew in his childhood, but apparently some other unsavory characters have also moved into the neighborhood.

Because of his forensic background, Mark is soon helping the authorities investigate the murder. Then Carrie is kidnapped and a true nightmare ensues for Mark, his sister, and everyone close to them.

At first, the kidnappers seem to be trying to hide their marijuana-growing business, but much bigger things are at stake—including a plot to blow up the Charlotte airport.

Rachel Poe takes her readers on a wild ride from a small mountain town all the way to the White House as threats to national security are exposed and government officials turn on one another to cover up their own failings.

Meanwhile, Mark’s sister Anne, who has been dating the local sheriff, finds herself falling for a member of the FBI who has become involved in the investigation. Does their love stand a chance amid all the violence and political repercussions they find themselves caught up in?

And will the good, simple, likeable people of this mountain community ever have their peace restored?

Whatever happens, I guarantee that readers will fall in love with these characters. Mark, Carrie, Anne, and all those they care about share a love for each other that keeps them strong and transcends even the most tragic moments. Supported by a cast of unforgettable mountain characters, Vanished Sisters satisfies on many levels.

Besides being an author, Rachel Poe is also a self-taught artist who works with oils, acrylics, and watercolor—she actually painted the cover pictures of both her books—yes, she has another book, Secrets from the Attic. Vanished Sisters is actually a sequel to it, although it can be read as a stand-alone novel, and it’s definitely worth reading.

If you want to learn more about Rachel Poe, both of her books, and her artwork, visit www.RachelPoe.com.

— Tyler R. Tichelaar, Ph.D. and award-winning author of Narrow Lives and The Best Place

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