Disturbing the Dead : Rachel Goddard

  • by Sandra Parshall
  • Narrated by Tavia Gilbert
  • Series: Rachel Goddard
  • 10 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Tom Bridger, who is half Melungeon, thought he had escaped his mountain community's lingering prejudice against the mixed-race group when he left to work for the Richmond, Virginia, Police Department. Tom was moving up the detective ranks when a family tragedy brought him back home and moved him into his father's job as a county sheriff's deputy.
Now the bones of a Melungeon woman who disappeared 10 years ago have surfaced on a remote mountaintop, and all evidence points to murder. Violence escalates as the victim's poor family and the wealthy white family she married into scramble to protect their secrets from Tom's probing. But as he looks into his father's investigation of the case, he finds his father was not the man he idolized.
The woman Tom is falling in love with, veterinarian Rachel Goddard, is struggling to start over in a place that holds no memories for her. Rachel puts herself in danger when she befriends Holly, niece of the dead Melungeon woman. As a child, the girl witnessed something that could implicate her aunt's killer, but she is too terrified to tell anyone what she knows. While Rachel is determined to keep Holly safe and help her piece together past events, the guilty are equally determined to silence the girl - and Rachel, too, if necessary.
Will this murder be Tom's and Rachel's undoing, or will it free them to look into the future?

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Very good mystery

Rachel Goddard is a veterinarian who has left hectic Northern Virginia after some sort of tragedy (that is not fully spelled out in this book--which is the second in the series). She has relocated herself to rural Virginia where she has opened a veterinary clinic and is trying to rebuild her life. While it is good that the author did not reveal too much about the first book (so as not to spoil it for people who want to go back and read it next)--listening to this one, out of sequence, was only because the first is not available on Audible (don't know why, hope it will be soon).

However, this book works well as a stand-alone. I didn't understand what had taken place before, but it did not get in the way of feeling that this is quite good as it is. It involves a case in which the bones of a Melungeon woman (a mixed race culture that has been in the Virginia/North Carolina area for a very long time) are discovered on a mountain, which re-opens an old cold case. For Deputy Tom Bridger, this is very personal, because his now-deceased father had worked this case before his death. So he feels very invested in solving it.

However, he must find a way to manage age-old racist attitudes towards the Melungeons--which is partly his own heritage--and the suspicion they have of the whites who have always looked down upon them in order to find the killer. As he begins his investigation, he discovers Holly, the young niece of the murdered woman, living in fear--though he isn't totally certain why--and tries to help her escape her situation by bringing her to work in Rachel's animal clinic, and also live with her.

I think the whole book is really quite good. The part about the Melungeons is fascinating--I have known about them for most of my life, and found the mysteries about their background and heritage fascinating. I think that is what attracted me to this book in the first place. However, there were parts that were sort of a stretch for me in the story. While it was necessary for Holly to live with Rachel for the whole thing to play out, it was quite challenging to imagine that Rachel would have been so protective of this young woman when she, herself, appears to have been dealing with her own fears from what happened in the previous book.

However, that aside, the story works well, the characters are vividly portrayed, the development and details of the area and people very interesting. I recommend this as a very good read--and look forward to finding more books by Sandra Parshall. I also liked the narration performed by Tavia Gilbert.
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- Kathi

Not as believable as 1st in series

Would you listen to Disturbing the Dead again? Why?

Probably not. I enjoy series as you get to know the characters more and more with each book. I enjoyed this book but the police and other characters jumped from theory to theory with each new piece of evidence. The police were too quick to believe seemingly to own a theory then try to prove themselves right. The sheriff came across as an out of touch incompetent who was over the hill and kept trying to sweep things under the rug. It made it appear he knew more and wanted to prevent the truth from coming out. In addition he condoned a drug ring in his jurisdiction because he felt worse people would take over the drug trade if he took action.


If you’ve listened to books by Sandra Parshall before, how does this one compare?

1st in series was more believable and riveting.


Which character – as performed by Tavia Gilbert – was your favorite?

Holly. She is a bright, naive, immature and undereducated young woman with a great sense of responsibility to her grandmother yet desire to be more independent.


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- Bookworm

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-29-2014
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.