Title: And There He Kept Her
Series: Ben Packard: Book One
Author: Joshua Moehling
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Length: 324 Pages
Category: Murder Mystery
Rating: 5 Stars
At a Glance: The crimes committed are the height of gruesome, the stuff of nightmares, and the utter horror that habitual predators are made of. I can’t wait to see what awaits Ben Packard next.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: When two teenagers break into a house on a remote lake in search of prescription drugs, what starts as a simple burglary turns into a nightmare for all involved. Emmett Burr has secrets he’s been keeping in his basement for more than two decades, and he’ll do anything to keep his past from being revealed. As he gets the upper hand on his tormentors, the lines blur between victim, abuser, and protector.
Personal tragedy has sent former police officer Ben Packard back to the small Minnesota town of Sandy Lake in search of a fresh start. Now a sheriff’s deputy, Packard is leading the investigation into the missing teens, motivated by a family connection. As clues dry up and time runs out to save them, Packard is forced to reveal his own secrets and dig deep to uncover the dark past of the place he now calls home.
Review: Joshua Moehling’s debut novel And There He Kept Her is a classic mystery that explores the absolute depravity tucked away in an isolated Minnesota town. It’s concealed within an ailing old man who’s all but a hermit living in a dilapidated house that should be condemned as a health hazard. But no one pays attention to Emmett Burr, and that’s the way he wants it. That’s the way he needs it. He’s little more than a dead man walking, anyway, and he knows it, but he’ll still do any- and everything to keep his secrets hidden. Including commit murder.
Moehling reveals his perpetrator in the blurb, which is not often the case in a mystery novel, but it works seductively in And There He Kept Her because readers get portions of the story from Emmett’s point of view as Deputy Ben Packard (Sandy Lakes acting Sherriff) searches for the two missing teens whose disappearance Emmett is directly responsible for. There is no “gray area” here, what Emmett and his accomplice/frienemy, Carl, have perpetrated over the years is vile, but at the same time there’s something so utterly pathetic about Emmett, especially when juxtaposed with Carl, that I found myself wanting him to be put out of his misery—not out of sympathy but because I was so repelled by his way of thinking.
Packard has a history that’s touched upon as his reason for moving to Sandy Lake and keeping himself to himself rather than becoming a part of the community. Rumor and innuendo aren’t so easy to escape in a small town where everyone knows, or suspects, everyone else’s business, and I liked the way this played out against him simply wanting to do his job and find the missing teenagers. The cast of characters featured as we travel through Sandy Lake with him add plenty to the setting and the story, with all their foibles, and it will be interesting to see how, or if, he will ever fit in.
The procedural—the investigation, the lack of solid clues, the suspicious death of a key witness, the drug ring, and Packard’s own personal investment—unfolds as a deliberate means of suspense as readers anticipate when the law will catch up to what we know is Emmett’s and Carl’s long-hidden corruption. The crimes committed are the height of gruesome, the stuff of nightmares, and the utter horror that habitual predators are made of. I can’t wait to see what awaits Ben Packard next.
You can buy And There He Kept Her here:
4 thoughts on “Review: And There He Kept Her by Joshua Moehling”
Omg that’s so funny! I literally had this book in my hands on Saturday at a bookstore, and said to my friend “I don’t even like the title! There’s no way I could read this. Too scaryyyyy!” And, here you read/reviewed it. Hahaha
Omg, you would hate it. It made me want to take a shower and wash the creepy vibes off 😂
Thank you for reading this on the behalf of all of those who are squeamish. Definitely not going to be added to my TBR pile.
(Maybe the next book in the series….maybe.)
This one definitely comes with some cautions! I don’t blame you a bit 🙂