Justice for Sara: Erica Spindler
Like a roller coaster whose speed knows no bounds and a Ferris wheel that turns out of control, the lives of two young girls take a downward spiral as the roller coaster comes to a stop and the Ferris Wheel halts in midair leaving sorrow and despair in its wake. Sara and Kat lost their parents in an accident leaving Sara to care for her rebellious younger sister, Resentments ran high as Sara tried to be both mother and father to Kat and received nothing but hard times and grief from Kat. Life does not always go the way you want it to and Kat’s behavior towards her sister, her attitude and one argument would change the course of both of their lives forever.
Katherine McCall has lived the last ten years with a black cloud hanging over her head. At 17 she as many teens do defied those in charge, rebelled against rules and often got herself into trouble and could not understand why she had to pay the consequences. The story opens with Katherine returning to her hometown after ten years. Waking up one morning in June, getting ready for school little did she know that her day would not go as planned. Finding her sister, Sara, beaten to death with a bat, by what police say was definitely an assailant she knew, would terrify most and cause them to breakdown and cry. But, Kat is tough, hardnosed and at 17 although thinking she is streetwise and smart in reality just plain naïve.
The story flashes back and forth between the present and the days before and after the murder. We meet Sara as she tries her best to discipline Kat, encourage her to choose the right friends and learns just what happens when you try to tame a teen. Kat’s voice comes through as being tough, hardcore, rude and unfeeling when dealing with her sister. Resenting the fact that if she does not adhere to her rules her she would not get her inheritance, she was forced to go along with her but in reality what we learn is quite the opposite.
Kat found her way into the arms of a young man named Ryan who if you read carefully only in the relationship for the money she would inherit that would put him on easy street. Their romance might have been hot and heavy but his motives were definitely suspect. Next, we meet the police chief that questioned her at the time of her sister’s death. Kat remained calm to a point, almost as if she did not realize that what she saw was real and that her sister was really gone. At times when questioned the reader might think that she did not process what was being asked and although her cousin Jeremy, her lawyer was present, the events and the end result would make her the prime suspect in her sister’s murder.
Forwarding to the present we meet Sergeant Luke Tanner took over for his father the Chief of Police who is on medical leave and whose resentment towards Kat has not changed after ten years. The evidence was in, the witnesses questioned and a jury of her peers acquitted her for her sister’s murder. Coming back to Liberty, the town where the murder took place took guts you might say. Kat is determined to find out who murdered her sister, why and establish herself in the town as a business owner of a Bakery and Bread store. But, there is much more as we hear about Sara’s boyfriend Danny, we hear the police interview with him and on you the reader can decide after hearing and reading his words whether he is guilty or not.
Ryan, the young man that Kat was dating at the time comes face to face with her in the present and the confrontation brings harsh words, bad memories and one young man who thinks that the world owes him something. While talking with him Kat even states that she thinks he might be the one who killed her sister. But, where did the bat come from that was used to murder her and why would someone want her dead?
The reception she receives from most of the people was cold and calculated. No one wanted her around and everyone pointed fingers at her for the murder. The police never looked for a second suspect and even in the present when everyone sees a huge G for Guilty on her chest. No one is willing to give her a chance and few will as we meet Danny, her sister’s boyfriend in the present and find that he agrees with the jury’s verdict. But why?
Words are sometimes more powerful that force and Kat’s would come back and haunt her for a long time. As the author relates each character’s account of the night of the murder or days before or after we get to understand why some think Kat might have wanted her sister dead. Wanting to send her to boarding school because of the company she kept, sneaking out of her room and constantly telling lies, Sara thought this might be a good solution. Hearing Chief Tanner question her we realize that he left many stones unturned and as a result missed important evidence that might have solved Wally Clark’s murder and Sara’s too. But, there is much more as we get to know Ryan in the present and Kat’s best friend and now Ryan’s future wife, Bitsy whose agenda is quite different and whose account we learn quite enlightening. The author brilliantly flashes back to the night of the murder and we hear Danny’s account of where he was, why he was angry with Sara and learn more about his gambling problems.
Throughout the novel we also see the tension between Luke and his father as we learn about his brother’s death, the reason his father became so distant and the end result that might tear them both apart. Secrets, lies and deceptions about the night Sara and Wally were both killed and families that would forever change. But, Kat will not let go and even though many things have happened to her and we learn more about her relationship with her cousin Jeremy and the resentment his wife feels for her, she forges ahead, speaks to Ms. Bell and the end result will surprise the reader. Questions, no answers, one man that did not see past Kat as the suspect and two murders that might never be solved.
Within the framework of the story is an underlying romance between Kat and Luke. Taken with her and hoping to get to know her better, Luke believes in her innocence, protects her when things happen causing her to know that the killer is still out there, and decides to reopen her case. But, there was a second murder that night of a police officer and some think the two are linked. Someone is stalking Kat with letters for over ten years hoping she will back off, create fear within her and hopefully disappear. But, rather than become a shrinking violet she keeps the letters, shows them to Luke but the vandalism to her car, the fire in her home prove that someone wants her out of the way.
The author flashes back to two days after the murder and we hear the voice of Iris Bell her neighbor recounting her thoughts about Kat and her relationship with Sara. The author does this in Timeline fashion so expertly that the reader takes the journey back in time with the characters as we get to understand their possible motives for murdering Sara and who the other suspects might be. The author also allows readers to hear the voice of the lawyer, understand his relationship to both Sara and Kat and then brings us to the present where he decides to run for State Senator.
Kat harbors resentment, fear of what might happen to her as she witnesses her house burning, states her views on Sara’s boyfriend Danny and is hiding secrets that have yet to be revealed. Remembering her sister had a journal and that no one could find it sent on to a storage locker to retrieve the items from their past but the fire would take it all.
When Sara receives another letter from who the author calls The Fan, stating: What about justice for Sara? The reader wonders if this question is two fold: When will justice vindicate Kat or when will the real killer be found? The tenth anniversary of her death and someone wants it to be the last one Kat will remember.
When Kat confronts her fears she lashes out at Luke and makes some damaging accusations that might hinder their friendship. After finding her way back to her cousin’s house after the fire she decides to take another detour and return to the scene finding someone lurking in the dark and the end result will bring in a suspect but is he The Fan or the Killer? As Luke tries to decipher what is going on and backtracks the two murders will he find a link? Why does Sara’s boyfriend hate her uncle?
An ending so explosive and the truth revealed you just wouldn’t believe who killed Sara. Lies, greed, betrayals, deceit and a town that would never forget the true meaning of JUSTICE FOR SARA!