Book Review

And There He Kept Her

And There He Kept Her

  • Author: Joshua Moehling
  • Genre: Mystery/Suspense
  • Publication Date: June 14, 2022
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press

Thank you to NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

CONTENT WARNING: homophobia, grief, addiction, murder, violence, blood, gun violence

They thought he was a helpless old man. They were wrong.

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.

Unrelentingly suspenseful and written with a piercing gaze into the dark depths of the human soul, And There He Kept Her is a thrilling page-turner that introduces readers to a complicated new hero and forces us to consider the true nature of evil.

This was really good for a debut novel! I was so impressed by the easy, flowing, and tense writing combined with a story that challenged how we view the roles that people play.

It’s easy to define victims and villains, or at least it is usually. However, this book takes that concept and turns it upside, creating characters who are both victims and villains, as well as showing the fallout from various horrific events. 

When Jesse and Jenny break into an old man’s house to steal his pain medication, they’re surprised by the intended victim, and things definitely don’t go their way. It creates a cascade of events that rock the small town of Sandy Lake, Minnesota. 

The chapters take place from the POV of Emmett Burr, the man whose house was broken into, as well as from the Acting Sheriff, Ben Packard. Ben has recently moved to Sandy Lake after his boyfriend was killed while responding to a police call. While he is new to the small town, he’s got old ties to the place, where he spent his summers as a child, until something happened to his older brother. It also talks about the homophobia he faces, and his journey to being comfortable in his own skin as a gay man in a small town setting, especially one who is on the police force. Emmett isn’t a likable character, but he wasn’t completely bad, making him the kind of character who will definitely haunt me.

This was a fast read, partially because I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next, and partially because the writing was smooth and just the right amount of descriptive. It’s fast-paced, and while there weren’t a lot of major plot twists that shocked me, there was an aura of tension that flowed throughout the story. This is definitely an author to watch, and I was thrilled to discover that this is going to be a series!

People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.

Gasp Factor: 4

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