Low Country Blood by Sue Hinkin

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Bea Middleton thought she was headed back home to Savannah, Georgia on a long-overdue trip to see family, catch up with friends, and maybe have some shrimp and slaw. What she didn’t know when she started her cross-country road trip from Los Angeles was that she would soon be trudging through the marshy, labyrinthine low country of Georgia, desperately searching for her son and the sociopath who kidnapped him and murdered his cousin. The kidnapping wasn’t just a random occurrence, however. Bea knows this particular psycho. She knows him all too well.

Author Sue Hinkin hits the ground running in her second novel, Low Country Blood. From the initial murder, to an Afghani heroin cartel, to a kidnapping by one of the cartel henchmen who turns out to be a sadistic killer with history in Savannah, Hinkin keeps the story moving with intense action and gripping plot twists. She has either done her research or has a cop in the family, as her descriptions of police procedure and communication seem spot-on — not overly gritty, nor super high-tech. Savannah and its Southern charm is also given its due here. The author’s lovely descriptions of the dancing crepe myrtles, the pungent smell of pluff mud, and the sound of corn popping when walking on tabby sidewalks bring Savannah to life. Her affinity for the people and understanding of Savannah’s deep, tangled cultural roots give the book its unmistakable heart.

In Sue Hinkin’s first novel, Deadly Focus, Bea’s friend and fellow reporter Lucy Vega (the Vega of “Vega & Middleton”) had the lion’s share of the excitement. Here, Bea Middleton gets her time on center stage. Both women are smart, resourceful, gutsy, and strong. It will be great fun to see the two of them solve murders for many books to come.