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The Heat of the Moon (Rachel Goddard Mysteries) (Hardcover)
Winner of the 2007 Agatha Award for Best First Novel
If a door suddenly swings wide in your memory, what would you see?
Young veterinarian Rachel Goddard's world begins to crumble when a client rushes into the animal hospital with a basset hound struck by a car during a thunderstorm. The dog owner's terrified tot, drenched with rain, loses sight of her mother in the flurry of activity and screams, "Mommy! I want Mommy!" Instantly Rachel is hurled back in time to a day in her own childhood when her baby sister Michelle uttered the same cry while thunder crashed and rain poured down on them. The unearthed memory feels like a fragment from a nightmare, and Rachel doesn't understand its meaning or the anguish it stirs up in her.
When she seeks answers she learns nothing from Michelle or from Judith, their loving but manipulative mother. Judith is a psychologist who is only too happy to have her adult daughters still living in her elegant Tudor house outside Washington, DC. But their apparently serene home is a house of secrets where Judith's unspoken rules forbid questions about the family history or the daughters' long-dead father. As more baffling memories surface, Rachel begins to suspect that nothing about her family is what it seems. As her mother's attempts to control her accelerate, Rachel embarks on a quest that takes her deep into her own memory as well as halfway across the country. The heartbreaking truth she uncovers will shatter her world and force her to make an unthinkable choice.
Sandra Parshall grew up in South Carolina and has worked as a reporter on newspapers in South Carolina, West Virginia, and Baltimore. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, a long-time Washington journalist, and three cats.