Paperback, 377 pages
Published March 1st 2008
by Mira Books
The footprints were etched in the snow for miles, passing through walls and crossing rivers...appearing on the other side as though no barrier could stop them.In 1922 a farmer in Adamant, Arkansas, awakes to a noise on his roof and finds his snow-blanketed yard marked with thousands of cloven footprints. The prints vanish with the melting snow...only to reappear seventy years later near the gruesome killing of Rachel DeLaune.
Years after her sister's unsolved murder, New Orleans tattoo artist Sarah DeLaune is haunted by the mysteries of her past. Sarah has always believed that her sister was killed by a man named Ashe Cain. But no one else had ever seen Ashe. He had "appeared" to Sarah when she needed a friend the most, only to vanish on the night of her sister's murder. The past bleeds into the present when two mutilated bodies are found near Sarah's home, the crime scene desecrated by cloven footprints.
First off, let me say that I listened to this on audiobook. It was narrated by Alicia Harding. She did a superb job narrating this story. It was absolutely wonderful, and thrilling to listen to the narration--it gave me chills in the right moments, was infused with mystery and I was riveted throughout the novel.
Now, onto the story itself. I have never read anything like this. It's not easy for me to review without revealing too much. I thought this story would have more of a romance element to it, but as it went on it became apparent that while the heroine and her ex have unresolved romance issues, that this story was not about them finding their way back to one another. I'm not sure why I thought it might be. Probably because I'm a romance junkie. But I did not mind in the slightest--Amanda Stevens spins a fabulous web of a story. She's probably one of the most talented authors I've read to date. I've become a huge fan ♥
The story pivots around Sarah. The murders trigger certain doubts in Sarah that had me really questioning exactly what was going on in this story. While the murders seem unconnected to the murder of Sarah's sister, Rachel, which happened fourteen years ago, in another part of the country, they start to raise questions about that murder. And why Sarah came home covered in her sister's blood. What knowledge does Sarah have of the events that led up to her sister's death? Does she know her sister's killer? These are questions that haunt Sarah because she can't remember. And the more the story progresses, the more obvious it becomes that maybe the murders and the murder of Sarah's sister are somehow connected. But I was left guessing throughout as to exactly what was going on.
This story was thrilling. I was spooked by some of the events--like the appearance of the cloven footprints. At other times, I grimaced as the murders were being discussed and the layers of the story were being peeled away--or piled on, depending. I was absolutely enthralled by the mystery. Because this is a multi-layered story and there are many secrets that come to surface. I highly recommend it whether or not this is your genre of choice--it's intelligently written, the pacing is flawless and the mystery will leave you guessing throughout.