by BJ Bourg
Review by Mel Jacob
Five Star Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781432831424
Date: 18 May 2016 List Price $25.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Not for the squeamish, Hollow Crib by B.J. Bourg follows two different men as they attempt to solve interrelated mysteries. One is Magnolia Parish Sheriff's Detective Brandon Berger who investigates the death of a local woman and the other is a young man, William Chandler, who takes his family on what becomes a tragic camping trip. What follows is mayhem and murder.
Wanting to share his childhood with his family, Chandler takes his wife and baby to a remote camping area. He also is determined to face his childhood fears because his father was killed on a similar trip. What begins innocently gradually deteriorates. After his wife is pushed into a fast flowing river, Chandler saves her, but when they return to their campsite they discover a bear attacking the tent with their child inside.
Chandler drives off the bear, and grabs the injured baby determined to reach a hospital. Driving at breakneck speed, he loses control when the brakes fail. He and his wife are trapped in the car, but the child is thrown out by the crash. Eventually they are found, however their child is dead.
What follows is a surreal nightmare for Chandler as he is tried for the death of the child and his wife testifies against him. He insists he is innocent. A homeless vet was also killed and Chandler's knife was found beside the body. Convicted of murder and sent to prison, Chandler's life is made a living hell by other inmates.
Meanwhile, the coroner rules the Magnolia Parish woman's death accidental. Berger discovers the she gave a lot of money to a local mega-church. Convinced there is wrong dealing, he is unable to prove it. Another local woman also calls him about a daughter. Her husband, a member of the mega-church, refuses to let her see her daughter and grandchild.
Berger is peripherally aware of Chandler's troubles, but thinks he looks like an innocent man. Eventually both stories converge for a deadly climax.
An accomplished writer, Bourg is a former police officer with two other novels and several short stories to his credit.