Genres: mystery, thriller
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She is young and beautiful, and recently married to a very wealthy middle-aged man who considers her to be the ultimate woman for him and holds her out as a model for his beloved 10-year-old daughter. They travel to a mountain hideaway to celebrate their first year together as a family when things begin to unravel. Her husband goes missing after a treacherous car accident, and the wife and daughter seem trapped and isolated, and stalked from both inside and outside the cabin.
What ensues is the story of a woman driven by her soulless greed and self entitlement, and a man who is wronged and apparently out to get revenge. This deadly game of cat and mouse will keep you on the edge of your seat. The macabre scenes include deadly traps and medieval torture devices, hidden doors, secret rooms, and an underground labyrinth of torture chambers. Add in the legend of a hoard of pure gold bars, and it becomes clear that someone has a much bigger plan in mind and will let nothing get in their way. But who? This is the story of a plot so devious that it is set up to fool the State police investigation. But can it fool you? Keep guessing until the final scene as to what is really going on and let your intuition guide you.
Stephen is an older man. He’s not great in the looks department, but he’s definitely good when it comes to money. Even though he grew up with rich parents, he made his way himself. When he meets Tammy, he’s a self-made millionaire. Like most men, he knows what kind of women he likes: young, well built, and gorgeous.
Tammy meets all of that. Throw in a sexy Southern accent and Stephen didn’t stand a chance. Unfortunately, she’s just what you’d expect out of a young woman marrying a man almost twice her age, especially when he has money. She’s only interested in the money. But she’s willing to be patient to get it, within limits.
Maria is Stephen’s 10 year old daughter. When her real mother got pregnant after a small romantic fling with Stephen, she could care less about the girl, but Stephen took her in and loved his daughter more than anything. However, he always felt bad leaving her with nannies as his business took him all over the world. When he met Tammy, he figured everything was solved. Here was a beautiful woman to serve as a role model for his daughter and warm his bed at night.
On their one year anniversary, Tammy set everything in to motion. Taking the small family up into the snowy Colorado mountains, she made sure they were isolated, something Stephen wasn’t too keen on. However, he’d do anything for his beautiful wife. What ensues is what you’d expect, or is it? You see the beginning coming from a mile away, but what about the rest of it? There are plot twists galore in this book, all meant to keep you guessing until the end.
True mystery aficionados might figure it out before the end, but I’ll admit I don’t read much mystery. I did eventually figure out what was going on, but it was closer to the end of the book, and it got creepy. I was a little let down with part of the ending, but since it’s an important part of the book, that’s all I’ll say about that.
There was an unfortunate amount of back story at the beginning of the book. Some of it was quite important, so it was good to know, but it could have been put into the story line a little better than it was. Most people don’t sit down and hash out an uncomfortable past over a relaxing dinner in the mountains. There were also a few areas that could have done with a little more editing, but all in all, it was a well-written and enjoyable book. I would actually be interested in knowing how fast true mystery readers can solve the puzzle Mr. Mathews spins out in his tale. All in all, I would recommend the book.