Cover Image: And There He Kept Her

And There He Kept Her

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Ok, I just finished giving my dog an extra long tummy rub.   That's the sort of thing you need to do after you go this deep into the evils of man which is what you will get with "And There He Kept Her"  This is a debut novel by Joshua Moehling and starts with a bang literally.   Two teenagers sneak into what they think is an old man's house to steal prescription meds when they get more then they bargained for as they walk right into a shotgun blast.  So begins a dark and disturbing journey as they go missing.  

The officer soon assigned to find them is acting sheriff Ben Packard.  He just moved to the small town of Sandy Lake running from his past as a officer in a big town.   As this small town police procedural takes place soon we learn much more about Ben and his past.    One of the strengths of this books is his character development.   It is handled so well as he is a take no crap kind of guy.   There is one scene where he is interrogating a young crying teenage girl which is almost lol funny.  

This book started SLOOOWWWW.   In fact after that WTF moment it's almost 50 pages until we find out what happened.  But this book soon finds it's pacing as it's expertly paced and written.   After that first hump it charges forward relentlessly and I finished it in a day.   Definitely some great Alfred Hitchcock scenes where we know what is going on but the characters don't and it's literally so suspenseful to read.    There is one part towards the end where I knew what was going to happen and even after it did I still jumped,   I think some of the negative reviews are from people giving up so early on the book.  

Some Cons:   Like mentioned above the characters of Ben Packard (And bad guy Emmet Burr) are expertly written and developed.   But as much as they are you can't say the same for the supporting characters.   There are several one dimensional characters.  Like I think Moehling was trying to make one of the female officers a likable badass but it didn't come across that way?   To be fair either Ben Packard or Emmet Burr are in every scene as it's told in third person POV from those two characters.   That and the slow start keep it from a perfect rating.  

All in all it's a great read although the subject matter is very disturbing and you will be shocked at some of the scenes.   But such a great read to have the book take off as the officers and citizens of Sand Lake try and find those two kids.   And also kudos for the non cliffhanger / cliffhanger.   Joshua Moehling literally spends the last two pages randomly setting up a sequel.   Just have a spouse or puppy to hug after reading this one.  

Book given free for honest review.
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“And There He Kept Her” is the start of a new series featuring Acting Sheriff Ben Packard, a gay cop from the Twin Cities in Minnesota who moves to Sandy Lake, a rural community in the far reaches of northern Minnesota, where he has gone to escape his grief after his secret boyfriend, Marcus died.  Packard spent the summers of his youth at a family cabin at Sandy Lake until his brother Nick disappeared without a trace, his fate still unknown almost two decades later.  

The novel starts with two teenagers, Jenny and her boyfriend Jesse, who are breaking into a house in the early hours of the morning for some unknown reason.  While searching through the basement, Jesse opens the door to a cement block room, where a single cot sits beneath a metal ring with chains attached.  It quickly becomes apparent that the two chose the wrong “victim” as the house’s resident, Emmett Burr, soon takes matters into his own hands.  Emmett kills Jesse and locks Jenny into the room with no clear plan as to how or when he will dispose of her.

Packard receives a call from his cousin Susan asking for his help in finding her missing daughter, Jenny.  As he investigates her disappearance, an interesting cast of quirky inhabitants are revealed. The book alternates between Packard’s investigation and Emmett’s interactions with his captive, Jenny.  

The novel is not a mystery in the traditional sense of the words, as the reader knows the current fate of the victims early on as well as the identity of the perpetrator.  The mystery is whether or not Jenny will be discovered before Emmett decides her fate.  This structure maintains a tension which keeps the reader invested in the story.  

But the real strengths of this book are the multi-faceted characters and a glimpse into the personal dynamics involved in small town rural living.  In particular, the main character, Ben Packard, is an intriguing personality who keeps his sexual preferences a secret and maintains an emotional distance between himself and his co-workers and his cousin. 

Moehling has a somewhat laconic writing style, which took awhile to get used to, but once I did, I came to appreciate the way he described characters and situations with a few well-chosen words.  As mentioned previously in this review, the book is the first in a series about Sandy Lake and Ben Packard. I look forward to reading the next installment.
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I devoured this book. I read it in almost a day. I enjoyed this greatly and I am so freaking thankful I got the opportunity to read this arc.
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I am afraid that I just didn't connect with this book. I kept trying but I found it hard work to read. Hopefully other readers will be more wowed by it than I was.
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What a wonderful book! I cannot believe this is a debut novel, the writing is so clever and tight. 

The characterizations are brilliant, free of cliches and perfectly imperfect. I felt like I knew them.

I will be watching you, Joshua Moehling, keep doing great writing!
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And There He Kept Her is very dark book, but I still finished the book and overall, I liked it. I always like a book that’s told by different characters perspectives. This is a well written, character driven story that I’m glad to have read. I found it to be suspenseful and I liked the character of Ben. Definitely read the trigger warnings on this one rather than going into this one unprepared. A solid debut novel by the author. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.
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Two teens break into a lake house in search of drugs. What could go wrong? For a debut novel I was pleasantly surprised. It was dark/gory police procedural but also captivating. I connected to Officer Packard and enjoyed his character. I only rated it 3.5/5 stars because I found it a bit predictable but overall i enjoyed it.
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This was a deliciously dark thriller.  Creepy and disturbing but a totally great read.  The characters were so well developed that I felt like I was right in the middle of the story. 
Great debut novel, I will definitely be following Joshua Moehling. Highly recommend! 
Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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The cover I saw first had me clicking to see what this book was about. Then I read the blurb, and I knew it would be good. I will say I was not disappointed. Two kids break into someone's home, and they both pay dearly. However, when a missing person's report goes out, it seems that the newly appointed sheriff will uncover a whole lot more than missing kids.  It seems crimes have been committed for a long time, and it is finally being exposed. 
Emmett is a serial killer; we know this from the start of it, but he is old now. Which I have to say was something new for me. I mean, yes, I know people get old, but to read it in a story does make you wonder about those that are killers. What happens next is all up to Emmett; his choices will affect the girl who broke into his house. I really did love the scenes that were given to us. They were a bit disturbing, but I enjoy books that make you go "what the......" For this author's first book, he did pretty well. I can't wait to read more by him. Maybe more with Deputy Packard in them?
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5 star 
This is so much more than a mystery/thriller. 
The characters are well developed, and diverse. The plot has more than just a single story line. The villain is a human with flaws not just a monster. 

This was just a great read altogether.
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Our first encounter is with two teenagers that are involved in a break-in that escalates into a sick, dark world the reader can’t  leave. Even though the reader is shocked an appalled by what occurs in the storyline, you cannot put it down.
There’s an interesting cast of characters. The sheriff, newly returned to the city because of interesting personal reasons, finds himself in charge of finding these two lost teens gone missing. The reason they are missing is because the house they robbed belongs to a serial killer, somewhat dormant, who just happens to have a pink room in the basement where he can “keep” his victims. 
It all revs up from there: the sheriff faces his demons, the serial killer displays a soft side, the accomplice and his own level of evil, the past discoveries, the chase……….it’s a riveting story. I hope the author follows up with another book to showcase the sheriff, he’s a keeper!
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I don't think I've enjoyed a book quite this much in a while.
I loved the twist and turns and all the characters were fantastic. I genuinely did not want to put this down 
I kinda hope this becomes a series, I feel like Packard has  so many more mysteries left to solve.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for this ARC. I just finished reading it last night and was really disappointed to end it. I liked the main character, Ben Packard and the process of his acclimating to a small town, with all it's quirks. It's interesting how Moehling weaves the story so at one point I found myself actually rooting for the bad guy, at least one one of them! There are lot of other colorful characters in the book, which makes a reader more engaged if you actually feel something for them. I recommend this book if you enjoy a good mystery.
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This is less of a who done it and more of will they get to her in time, which created a lot of tension in this police procedural novel.  Small town, acting sheriff with a secret and a tragic history/mystery from his childhood,  two villains, one more evil than the other.  This novel had lots to keep my interest and set the stage for a follow up
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I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley.

There He Kept Her is a great thriller that makes you wonder who will get caught and who will die.  Two teenagers break into the house of an old man to steal his drugs; however, when they get caught, the quick in and out turns deadly.   That old man who looks like he could not hurt a fly has a secret.  A secret he will kill for to keep it buried.  

The new acting police chief, stepping in for the current chief undergoing cancer treatments, has a secret of his own.  He is also in charge of the investigation into the two missing teenagers.  Will his secrets get spilled while trying to find the missing teens?

I really enjoyed this book.  Will the story continue so we can find out answers to the chief's secret???
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Well.  I wish I could say I loved this but I didn’t.   I personally feel a thriller should have at least 1 twist and keep you guessing.  This book did not.  The villain is revealed in the first chapter and there are no twists or reveals at all.  I was completely bored through the whole book.  90% of the book was small town gossip/background on every, single, character.  None of which was relevant to the story.  The cover and synopsis drew me in but nothing about this book kept me interested.
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Finally a new thriller series introducing us another complex character: ladies and gentlemen: here’s the new sheriff deputy of Sandy Lake: Ben Packard who returns back to his hometown after the tragedy stroke and shook him to the core, applying for this job for his fresh start!   

Now he’s using his guns to stop wild animals to harass the townies including wild bears! He has bad memories about the town where his brother got missing and never been found! This is the very same place where his parents’ marriage has been damaged. Her sister and big brother moved to the other places and only his widowed cousin Susan who is restaurant owner, raising her teenage kid left behind as a family member.

  The main reason he left his old job is not only losing his longtime boyfriend who has been shot on duty, he also dealt with condescending comments about his sexual preferences that his colleagues talked behind his back.

  Now he’s the main authority in the small, conservative, religious, tight knitted town as a gay man in charge. It’s the challenge he has to accept and own. 

 He tries too hard to stay out of trouble, not to dig around his past but when his cousin Susan’s girl is missing alongside with her boyfriend, he conducts his investigation to find out who are the real monsters disguise in human fur.

  The book is extremely intense! The monsters who keep Ben’s niece are extremely soulless, vicious, disgusting human wastes. The graphic violence, darkness of the story make you startle!

  There’s no big mystery or twist! We know the perpetrators from the beginning. We just get introduced to several well developed characters and Packard’s racing against the time to find the culprits.

It was character driven, intriguing, good structured debut novel! Probably at the second book, Packard will investigate the mystery behind the cold case about his brother who is still missing! And I truly look forward to read that! 

Special thanks to NetGalley and Poisoned Press Pen for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest thoughts.
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This book was excellent  I look forward to reading more by this author . I had many late nights of “one more chapter “
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If you're looking for a dark and disturbing book this one is for you.
This thriller will have you on the edge of your seat, I couldn't put it down.
Truly a brilliant debut, but definitely not for everyone.
I was kind of startled to know right away who the villain is, it's not what I typically enjoy but it does the job!!
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I absolutely loved this thriller. It reminded me lots of good TV thrillers with grittiness and atmosphere and complex characters. I cared for all the characters and I felt like I knew all of them. 

If you like stories about abduction, Silence of the Lambs and recently enjoyed Mare of Easttown on HBO, you will definitely enjoy this one. The writing is atmospheric and effortless and I loved how everything and everyone got entwined together. 

Packard was a wonderful main character and I am looking forward to his and Franklin’s adventures. 

I don’t want to give more away, I loved it and finished in a week! Incredible book and story.
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