The close-knit community of Sand Valley, Alabama could be any small town in the country complete with nosey neighbors, assorted miscreants and good folk just trying to get by. Wendell Blackmon, Sand Valley’s local police officer has been feeling the regrets that come with approaching old age; he can’t help but feel that somehow life has passed him by. Despite a string of sorrows suffered throughout her life, probate judge Reva Blackmon maintains a more serene outlook. Reva is certain Wendell and she have shared many lives together and what’s more, this is her last reincarnation.When the burnt shell of a house reveals the corpse of a self-proclaimed witch, partially burned with her head bashed in, life in Sand Valley suddenly becomes much less routine. Nearly everyone who knew the woman, including Wendell’s deputy is a viable suspect and when the investigation involves the family of the richest man in town, old grudges resurface. Wendell and Reva dig deeper into the mysterious woman’s past to reveal surprising ties with their own personal tragedy that triggers a surprising cascade of events that will impact Sand Valley for years to come.
Atkins, author of The Front Porch Prophet has penned another charming, utterly engrossing tale of small town life, alternating present day events with the past to provide an in depth look at the main characters. The finely crafted, descriptive turns of phrase impart wry wit that make this a rare pleasure to be savored like fine wine.