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And There He Kept Her

Review

And There He Kept Her

Teenager Jesse Crawford got a lot more than he bargained for when he broke into the old man’s house in search of prescription drugs. He came across a horrific scene that didn’t make sense --- a room that resembled a cage. When he found his teen partner in crime, Jenny Wheeler, he urged her to leave with him. However, they were not able to get past the fat naked man with the shotgun pointed at them. This is the weapon that would then fire and take Jesse’s life, leaving Jenny in the clutches of a human monster, for they had chosen the wrong house that evening.

"Joshua Moehling has created realistic, extraordinarily complex characters who are not immediately likable. This is dark, gritty writing at its finest, and I look forward to reading more from him."

Thus begins Joshua Moehling's intense thriller debut, AND THERE HE KEPT HER, the first installment in what I hope will be a long-running series. Detective Ben Packard has had to step up as acting sheriff of Sandy Lake as the current sheriff is battling cancer. Packard has his own baggage, having left the big city P.D. under suspicious circumstances that may have involved his sexual orientation and caused him to return to the small Minnesota town where he tragically lost his older brother decades earlier. He is now tasked with finding the two teens without having much evidence to go on.

Jenny's captor, the creepy Emmett Burr, has abducted and killed many other young women. He is a truly reprehensible character who blames his ex-wife for the way he is, even though we learn that he was always a lecherous type. Any sympathy that could have been felt for him as a victim of theft is instantly removed once his personal history is revealed.

Emmett has just one friend, if you could call him that --- a guy named Carl, who joins him in molesting and torturing his female victims and helps dump bodies from time to time. They need to get rid of Jesse’s corpse and vehicle, which Carl agrees to do only if Emmett then turns Jenny over to him. Emmett agrees, so they stuff Jesse into the trunk of his own car. Carl uses a wrecker tow-truck from his work at the garage to bring the vehicle to the quarry where they plan to dump it. Let’s just say that this scene gets pretty out of hand.

Packard, meanwhile, is running a tight investigation. Even though things might not be moving fast enough for the families of the missing teens, he is methodically covering ground the right way. Ultimately it will put him on a collision course with Emmett in a finale that is worth the price of admission.

Joshua Moehling has created realistic, extraordinarily complex characters who are not immediately likable. This is dark, gritty writing at its finest, and I look forward to reading more from him.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on June 16, 2022

And There He Kept Her
by Joshua Moehling

  • Publication Date: June 14, 2022
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
  • ISBN-10: 1728247896
  • ISBN-13: 9781728247892