Hellmouth, a Compelling Blend of Romance, Murder and Corruption by Meredith Anthony

The Bottom Line: An enjoyable romp of romance, murder, and corruption that belie the trappings of small-town America.

They say that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, but when Helen Goode starts to channel the scorn that comes from learning that her husband, Beau, may be cheating on her — and it’s her fourth one, no less — that fury opens up much more than she could ever have expected. Helen gets a call from her husband’s associate, who suspects that there may be some sort of workplace romance blossoming.

But before Helen gets a chance to confront her husband, there’s a mysterious death, a pile of bloody clothes in her own washing machine, and then a fatal car accident involving Helen’s coworker. It’s a lot for any city and in this small town, people are talking and everyone’s on edge, which keeps Helen from finding clues and figuring out what her husband’s up to. Throw in a state trooper, blackmail, town gossip, and readers have the formula for a quick read that’s satisfying up to the very end, especially when (false?) confessions and the underlying question of infidelity is at play. It’s all presented with a believable, approachable, and friendly cast but the entire time, readers will wonder who did what and whether or not it’s all just a Smallville-style farce.

There’s a good reason why thriller fans are obsessed with places like Wayward Pines and Twin Peaks – small towns are full of delicious hidden secrets, and Anthony’s Benedict, Pennsylvania, is no different. Anyone looking for a summer read will find exactly what they need with Hellmouth. It’s a fun romp that deftly blends genres and sets it apart from the season’s new releases.

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