An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock (Samuel Craddock Mystery, #6)
When the Jarrett Creek Fire Department is called to douse a blaze on the outskirts of town, they discover a grisly scene: five black young people have been murdered. Newly elected Chief of Police Samuel Craddock, just back from a stint in the Air Force, finds himself an outsider in the investigation headed by the Texas Highway Patrol. He takes an immediate dislike to John Sutherland, a racist trooper Craddock’s fears are realized when Sutherland arrests Truly Bennett, a young black man whom Craddock knows and respects. Sutherland cites dubious evidence that points to Bennett, and Craddock uncovers facts leading in another direction. When Sutherland refuses to relent, Craddock is faced with a choice that will define him as a lawman—either let the highway patrol have its way, or take on a separate investigation himself. Although his choice to investigate puts both Craddock and his family in danger, he perseveres. In the process, he learns something about himself and the limits of law enforcement in Jarrett Creek.

An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock (Samuel Craddock Mystery, #6) Details

TitleAn Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock (Samuel Craddock Mystery, #6)
Author
ReleaseJan 3rd, 2017
PublisherSeventh Street Books
ISBN-139781633882096
Rating
GenreMystery, Historical, Thriller, Mystery Thriller

An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock (Samuel Craddock Mystery, #6) Review

  • Kathy
    January 1, 1970
    I first met author Terry Shames in October 2015 at the Raleigh Bouchercon. Talk about being at the right place at the right time, I was gathering together some authors and readers to go to a dinner I'd planned. Terry was there, and I asked her to join us. Oh, fortuitous day that Terry accepted the dinner invitation, because I learned about Samuel Craddock, the series that I read as one of my catch-up series read in January and February, following that Bouchercon. I could not read the series fast I first met author Terry Shames in October 2015 at the Raleigh Bouchercon. Talk about being at the right place at the right time, I was gathering together some authors and readers to go to a dinner I'd planned. Terry was there, and I asked her to join us. Oh, fortuitous day that Terry accepted the dinner invitation, because I learned about Samuel Craddock, the series that I read as one of my catch-up series read in January and February, following that Bouchercon. I could not read the series fast enough. I fell in love with Samuel Craddock, the former Police Chief of Jarrett Creek, Texas, who is a widower and a gentleman farmer of sorts, with his treasured small herd of cattle. And, Jarrett, with its small town charm and big time secrets came alive for me, too, and I looked forward in each new book to the minor characters populating the stories, as well as Samuel himself. In the first book, A Killing at Cotton Hill, Samuel is drawn back into the pursuit of justice when an old friend is murdered, and the current Police Chief is more concerned with his next drink than finding out who actually killed Dora Lee Parjeter. So begins Samuel Craddock returning to the law enforcement and justice seeking role he had retired from, his reputation preceding him as "the best lawman Jarrett Creek ever had."Of course, every story has to start somewhere. The series starts when Samuel's beloved wife Jeanne had died from cancer several months prior and when Samuel is in his early 60s. He is no longer police chief of Jarrett Creek and at rather loose ends as to where his life will lead him at this point. And, as the books progress and we readers couldn't be any happier with this amazing lead character of Samuel Craddock, there does exist a niggling wonder about the young Samuel Craddock and how he became the purveyor of justice for all. Now, Terry Shames, in all her brilliance, has given readers the gift of An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock, where Samuel has just become the new Chief of Police for Jarrett Creek, Texas. It is the young Samuel Craddock, who has served in the Air Force, graduated from Texas A&M (with a degree in geology), and married the love of his life, Jeanne. Being elected the Chief of Police has given this young man a purpose, a direction when he was wondering what direction to take. And, yet, he still has to determine just what shape his new role as Police Chief will take. A tragic fire on the edge of town reveals the death of five young black people, but they all were shot before the fire consumed them. So, it is a case of multiple murders with which the new Police Chief Craddock is faced. However, there is a matter of what law enforcement agency is to be tasked with the investigation and pursuit of justice. Will the Texas Rangers, the Highway Patrol, or the Jarrett Creek Police Department get the case? In Texas, it is the Highway Patrol who investigates suspicious deaths in small towns, unless the Texas Rangers are asked to step in, and the Highway Patrol takes charge of this one. Unfortunately, in this instance the Highway Patrolman who will be leading the investigation is a racist, who is looking to close the case quickly, with a dearth of effort and evidence. The suspect that John Sutherland, the head investigator, latches onto happens to be someone with whom Samuel is familiar, the man who helped him set up his new cattle herd, Truly Bennett. It's not surprising that Sutherland's attentions landed on a young black man to arrest and charge with the crime. Now, Samuel Craddock must decide what his role is going to be in serving his community as its law enforcement presence. Does he stay out of it, as he has been ordered to do by Sutherland, or does he do his own investigation into what really happened and who is to blame. Since, we readers already admire the ethics of Samuel and his tenacious determination to see that justice is the goal, it comes as no surprise the path Samuel chooses and that it will be a dangerous one. Our Samuel is not going to be satisfied with anything but the truth, and he definitely isn't going to let racism win the day. This story is both a visit to the past where the division of loyalties and different justices for people of color are often way too evident. And, it is a timely story, reminding us how in today's world, injustice and rush to judgement for people of color are extant.An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock is, as I mentioned earlier, a gift to fans of this amazing series. All the past that is alluded to in the previous five books comes vividly to life. Samuel's mother and brother are there, along with the nephew Samuel and his wife Jeanne adore. The art collection that is important to Samuel because he and Jeanne collected it together, in the beginning collected by Jeanne, is there in its inception. Even Samuel's inaugural cow herd and the peace he finds in its presence is there. And, of course, Samuel's love for Jeanne is there, with all its sweetness and sometimes flaws. Given the backstory to the man whom we've come to admire so much is a testament to author Terry Shames' appreciation for her fans and to her genius in providing great story. Thank you, Terry, for this magnificent gift.
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  • Col
    January 1, 1970
    Synopsis/blurb.....When the Jarrett Creek Fire Department is called to douse a blaze on the outskirts of town, they discover a grisly scene: five black young people have been murdered. Newly elected Chief of Police Samuel Craddock, just back from a stint in the Air Force, finds himself an outsider in the investigation headed by the Texas Highway Patrol. He takes an immediate dislike to John Sutherland, a racist trooperCraddock's fears are realized when Sutherland arrests Truly Bennett, a young b Synopsis/blurb.....When the Jarrett Creek Fire Department is called to douse a blaze on the outskirts of town, they discover a grisly scene: five black young people have been murdered. Newly elected Chief of Police Samuel Craddock, just back from a stint in the Air Force, finds himself an outsider in the investigation headed by the Texas Highway Patrol. He takes an immediate dislike to John Sutherland, a racist trooperCraddock's fears are realized when Sutherland arrests Truly Bennett, a young black man whom Craddock knows and respects. Sutherland cites dubious evidence that points to Bennett, and Craddock uncovers facts leading in another direction. When Sutherland refuses to relent, Craddock is faced with a choice that will define him as a lawman - either let the highway patrol have its way, or take on a separate investigation himself.Although his choice to investigate puts both Craddock and his family in danger, he perseveres. In the process, he learns something about himself and the limits of law enforcement in Jarrett Creek.--------------------------My take.....I've been a fan of this series for a few years now, reading four of the five mysteries that preceded this one. An Unsettling crime is a prequel and a hark back to earlier days when Craddock wasn't a widower and he had his first appointment in law enforcement.There's a fair bit of the personal in this case. We establish that Samuel and his wife are happily married though she wishes he wasn't a sheriff. The pair get to take care of their nephew, Tom a lot, as we get first hand experience of the fecklessness of Craddock's brother and sister-in-law and a close up of Craddock's own mother. Not a pretty sight.The crime, the murder of five young black people gives Craddock the chance to establish his credentials as a decent, thorough and conscientious officer as opposed to a lazy one. By contrast, John Sutherland of the Texas Highway Patrol, looking for a quick fix and an easy arrest on the basis of flimsy evidence. Cur for some butting of heads.Plenty of racial undertones present. Craddock has to try and penetrate a black wall of silence if he is to help Truly Bennett get out of jail.I enjoyed this one, but I didn't take to it as much as some of the earlier books in the series. It was interesting getting a lot of back story on Craddock and the book lets him earn his props. I didn't like his wife and don't feel she worthy of the sainthood, bestowed on her memory in later books. Still its his wife and grief, not mine so we'll forgive him that.Enjoyable small town setting as per usual. Interesting exploration of racial themes, I think the books is set sometime in the 80s. There's a few other crimes to look into other than the murder and the potential railroading of our innocent suspect - drug use and drug dealing among the high school populace. The kind of small town crime, Craddock was supposed to be concentrating on and fixing when he was appointed sheriff.4 from 5Her Samuel Craddock series comprises the following:An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock (2017)1. A Killing At Cotton Hill (2013)2. The Last Death of Jack Harbin (2014)3. Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek (2014)4. A Deadly Affair at Bobtail Ridge (2015)5. The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake (2016)Coming next year.6. A Reckoning in the Back Country (2018)Read in October, 2017Published - 2017Page count - 270Source - review copy from publisher, Seventh Street BooksFormat - paperbackhttps://col2910.blogspot.co.uk/2017/1...
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  • Kevintipple
    January 1, 1970
    Billed as a Samuel Craddock Mystery Prequel the latest read from author Terry Shames takes readers back decades ago when a young Samuel Craddock came home to be police chief of the small south Texas town, Jarret Creek. It is the mid-80s and the city council wants a younger man to deal with the drug problem. A stint in the Air Force as well as college wasn’t law enforcement experience or training, so the county paid for Samuel to take a three month training course over in Austin. As An Unsettling Billed as a Samuel Craddock Mystery Prequel the latest read from author Terry Shames takes readers back decades ago when a young Samuel Craddock came home to be police chief of the small south Texas town, Jarret Creek. It is the mid-80s and the city council wants a younger man to deal with the drug problem. A stint in the Air Force as well as college wasn’t law enforcement experience or training, so the county paid for Samuel to take a three month training course over in Austin. As An Unsettling Crime For Samuel Craddock opens, Samuel gets a call about a very bad situation over in “darktown.” Known as the area where the African Americans live, a tragedy has happened. In the wake of an overnight fire, a certain home there is the scene of five deaths. The fire wasn’t totally responsible. At least one of the victims was shot. It appears that quite possibly all of the bodies are of kids. Despite the fact the case occurred inside the city limits of Jarret Creek, according to the John Sutherland of the Texas Highway Patrol, he will be handling the case as he claims they have jurisdiction. While that might be true, the more likely scenario is for investigators from the legendary law enforcement agency in Texas, the Texas Rangers to take over. Even when the Rangers arrive in the form of Curren Wills and Luke Schoppe, Sutherland insists on handling the case his way. Not only is Sutherland arrogant and abusive, he is also clearly racist. It isn’t surprising when Sutherland, ignoring Craddock, goes after the wrong man providing that he also does not care one whit about anything other than clearing a case one way or another. That drug problem Craddock was hired to deal with has its own complications and will take a backseat to the more pressing problem of making sure that an innocent man goes free.Racism to varying degrees is a constant undertone to this latest mystery. Readers are treated to a different version of Jeanne, Craddock’s wife, as she is very much alive in the read. Also clear are some of the issues that will define Craddock’s legacy in the coming years. For those new to the series, it would make a lot of sense to begin with An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock. For those of us that have read all of the books, there is plenty of mystery and character nuance to consider in this read. We get to learn how it all began in this highly entertaining read. Prequels often don’t work, but this one does from start to finish. An Unsettling Crime For Samuel Craddock: A Samuel Craddock Mystery PrequelTerry Shameshttp://www.Terryshames.com Seventh Street Bookshttp://www.seventhstreetbooks.com Jan 2017ISBN# 978-1-63388-209-6Paperback (also available in eBook format)270 Pages$15.95Material supplied by the Plano Public Library System.Kevin R. Tipple ©2017
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  • Lesa
    January 1, 1970
    Terry Shames' Samuel Craddock mysteries are always thought-provoking views of our society. But, none of them have been as timely or challenging as the latest story, An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock.Shames takes us back to the beginning of Craddock's career as police chief of Jarrett Creek, Texas. It's the mid-eighties. Craddock's wife, Jeanne, is still alive, and they've only been married for six years. Despite Jeanne's wishes, Samuel accepted the position of chief of police six months ea Terry Shames' Samuel Craddock mysteries are always thought-provoking views of our society. But, none of them have been as timely or challenging as the latest story, An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock.Shames takes us back to the beginning of Craddock's career as police chief of Jarrett Creek, Texas. It's the mid-eighties. Craddock's wife, Jeanne, is still alive, and they've only been married for six years. Despite Jeanne's wishes, Samuel accepted the position of chief of police six months earlier. However, he's a raw, young lawman with no experience, and a small amount of training when the first violent crime on his watch occurs. In fact, he's so inexperienced, he ignores the phone, and goes to bed with his wife. But, it's a tragic crime scene. A house in Darktown, where all the black people in town live, burned down. There are five bodies, all young, including that of a girl who was shot as she ran from the fire. Craddock is sickened by the scene, but it isn't his crime scene. He only has a small department, so in Texas, the investigation is turned over to the Texas Highway Patrol. But, when John Sutherland, a racist trooper, handles the case, that means he'll arrest a black man. And, Craddock just doesn't believe the man killed those people or torched the house.We learn a great deal about Samuel Craddock as a man in this book. Shames provides his backstory, the account of his rough childhood, and his ongoing family issues. We already knew about his love for Jeanne. But, now we learn about his moral beliefs, and his willingness to take on the entire community to defend a black man when he believes in his innocence. He has to take on a culture of bigotry, even within his own family. And, he realizes how unprepared he was for the job of chief of police. The town hired him to get rid of a drug problem, and he didn't try. Now, he faces a tragedy, and he was unprepared. He accepted the job, thinking, "How much trouble can a town of three thousand people get into?" Now that he's tested, he realizes what he did. "I took on the job to make a statement that I am a man and I can make my own way, and I haven't lived up to that ideal....I've embarrassed myself, and it's time to remedy that."An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock makes Craddock the man readers recognize from later books. He's challenged to look at his own beliefs, to look at the people around him. Shames' mystery may be the story of one man, one Texas community in the mid-eighties, but it's a challenge to look at the police system, the justice system, and our own beliefs. Where are we in the 21st century?
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  • Viviane Crystal
    January 1, 1970
    Samuel Craddock has recently been appointed Chief of Police in small town Jarret Creek, Texas. Some treat him with respect and others scorn his office as he’s in his 30s, a very young age compared to most law officers in the area. Because there’s not much crime locally, for the most part, Sam decides to try his hand at raising a few head of cattle. He and his wife are about to welcome the delivery of these bovine additions to their family when he receives a call about a fire and something that s Samuel Craddock has recently been appointed Chief of Police in small town Jarret Creek, Texas. Some treat him with respect and others scorn his office as he’s in his 30s, a very young age compared to most law officers in the area. Because there’s not much crime locally, for the most part, Sam decides to try his hand at raising a few head of cattle. He and his wife are about to welcome the delivery of these bovine additions to their family when he receives a call about a fire and something that should be seen immediately. What he finds is so far beyond his recent experience in the Air Force, a grisly fire that burns five people to death and one of them has clearly been shot at point-blank range!This then is the story of how Sam bypasses and gingerly maneuvers around the flagrant racial prejudice of another law officer and several people in the town, the rambunctious journalist who will do anything for an exciting story like this, corruption in the town, a major drug problem in the local high school, and those who do everything possible to impede Sam’s independent investigation of the fire and murders. Add to that Sam’s dysfunctional family with a nephew who desperately needs some tender loving care beyond his own parents. It's not just racial prejudice that’s rampant in Jarret Creek. Certain “important” families think that their high status means they are untouchable when it comes to breaking the law. It’s not until a crisis happens that Sam’s determined nature begins to transform from insecurity to maturity. Crimes in these types of legal thrillers or mysteries are almost always solved and the surprise involves unusual investigative techniques and the unpredictability of the perpetrator or perpetrators. However, there’s another element here, the abandoning of stereotyping everyone with the same brush. So Sam gives the reader hope that lack of prejudice clears one’s mind to see things objectively and thus connect links toward a solution that not only solves the crime but also serves as a teaching moment for many who may have spurned such previous moments. Nicely crafted Terry Shames! This is a prequel to six other Sam Craddock mysteries – happy reading all!
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  • Bonnie
    January 1, 1970
    Terry Shames continues her series with Samuel Craddock as the main character who has just been hired as chief of police in Jarrett Creek, Texas. He is recently back from a stint in the Air Force and agrees to take the position. Most of the local complaints come under the heading of lost cat or dog. But, now something far sinister is happening. The Jarrett Creek Fire Department is called to dowse a house fire on the outskirts of town and discover a grisly scene where five young black people have Terry Shames continues her series with Samuel Craddock as the main character who has just been hired as chief of police in Jarrett Creek, Texas. He is recently back from a stint in the Air Force and agrees to take the position. Most of the local complaints come under the heading of lost cat or dog. But, now something far sinister is happening. The Jarrett Creek Fire Department is called to dowse a house fire on the outskirts of town and discover a grisly scene where five young black people have been murdered. The Texas Highway Patrol has taken the lead with John Sutherland, a racist trooper, and he seems to be jumping to conclusions about the case. But, when he arrests Truly Bennett, a black man who has helped Samuel with a herd of cows he has purchased, Craddock will not stand by and watch the man be railroaded. One of the highlights of the novel is the description of the marriage of Samuel and Jeanne. She comes from a wealthy family, but is happy to share a modest home with her husband. His own background includes a mother who constantly put her children down and a father who drank. Jeanne has chided Samuel that he should stop by his mother's apartment and check on her. His brother, wife, and son also live in an apartment below his mother. The reader gets a glimpse of how bitter and sarcastic she is. It has ruined her son Horace whose wife has recently been beaten up and saying she had hitched a ride with a stranger and he beat her. There also a confrontation with the school principal who calls Samuel in with a drug problem in school that foreshadows a much greater drug problem yo come Jarrett Creek. This is a carefully developed plot and gives insight to the man Samuel is to become. Loved it and eagerly awaiting another Samuel Craddock mystery.
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  • Mainlinebooker
    January 1, 1970
    Samuel Craddock is the new young police chief of a small Texas town when he is called to investigate a fire in "Blacktown" where 5 people were shot and burned in a fire. The Texas Highway Patrol are sent to take over the case, and he finds himself without any critical power. In addition, he is suspicious that they will not do their job thoroughly and will gloss over any evidence. His prescience becomes evident when they arrest Truly Bennett, a black man, whom he sees as truthful and honest, and Samuel Craddock is the new young police chief of a small Texas town when he is called to investigate a fire in "Blacktown" where 5 people were shot and burned in a fire. The Texas Highway Patrol are sent to take over the case, and he finds himself without any critical power. In addition, he is suspicious that they will not do their job thoroughly and will gloss over any evidence. His prescience becomes evident when they arrest Truly Bennett, a black man, whom he sees as truthful and honest, and has helped him out at his farm over the years. The rest of the story involves Samuel inserting himself in the fact-finding mission to prove Truly's innocence. While putting himself and his family at risk, he is the ultimate seeker of the truth, unveiling a level of corruption far beneath the surface of this small town. A very enjoyable page turner with good character development and suspense.
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  • Jim
    January 1, 1970
    What a title for a book ! "An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock": Craddock book 6. Several months ago I came across a stack of this book sitting on a table in an Arizona book store. Although I've never heard of author Terry Shames I had to buy this book just because it's titled grabbed me. The book kept calling out my name pleading to pick it up and check Samuel Craddock out. Okay, I admit I'm a sucker for seeing odd titles on suspense thrillers. At the time I had no idea it was book six of a What a title for a book ! "An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock": Craddock book 6. Several months ago I came across a stack of this book sitting on a table in an Arizona book store. Although I've never heard of author Terry Shames I had to buy this book just because it's titled grabbed me. The book kept calling out my name pleading to pick it up and check Samuel Craddock out. Okay, I admit I'm a sucker for seeing odd titles on suspense thrillers. At the time I had no idea it was book six of a series. However I was happily relieved to find out this one is also a prequel for this series. At just 267 pages (Paperback), this one reads extremely quickly. Set sometime in the 1980's "Jarrett Creek', Texas a youthful Samuel Craddock has just become chief of police for this tiny town. With the Texas Highway Patrol, and the Texas Rangers having the bulk of jurisdiction, Samuel Craddock has little crime to investigate. However late one night in "Darktown", the small section where Jarrett Creek's people of color live in poverty a blazing fire breaks out destroying someone's home. The authorities realize the blazing fire has exposed a gruesome a murder scene. Squatters on a section of this land had constructed some type of dwelling. With several dead it wasn't the fire that had killed them as they were all shot to death before fire was started. Craddock gets the cold shoulder from all of the agencies arriving on scene to investigate. The chief of police badge means little for this area of Texas. Regardless Samuel opens his own investigation raising the ire of the Highway Patrol. Samuel is also burdened with his nephew Tom being dumped on Sam and his wife Jeanne. Samuel's older brother Horace and his somewhat odd wife Donna have something strange going on. The couple don't seem to be too involved in raising their very young son Tom. When Samuel's most trusted local handyman Truly Bennett is arrested for the murders and the fire Samuel vows to clear his name. Truly is invaluable to Samuel in helping out on his somewhat new cattle farm. Samuel seems to be about the only one who thinks Truly cannot be person behind these terrible crimes. Along with a quirky local newspaper reporter, Bonnie Bedichek and Truly's father Ezekiel the truth must be ferreted out. For some reason the clues keep coming back to the local high school where drugs have invaded this community by some nasty drug dealers. In a tightly wound plot that brings the suspense to a boil time and again this "who done it" is a really clever tale. When dark secrets that are kept under wraps in small towns and communities it goes without saying they are bound to get exposed. Secrets that'll just shock most small towns like Jarrett Creek. As with all small towns in states like deep south Texas the characters all are unique and quite colorful. This prequel on the Samuel Craddock series is a very enjoyable suspense thriller. I'm excited to go back and find the first book of this series, ("A Killing At Cotton Hill"). Author Terry Shames seems to be a very good story teller. I'm giving this Samuel Craddock prequel four stars out of a possible five stars. Should be a 4.25 star read. I felt the end was a bit weak keeping the book from getting all five stars. Highly recommend this Craddock read. I plan to find out about the series soon. I'll let readers know how they stack up as suspense thrillers as I find them. Check this one out for sure. For sure The Poisoned Pen bookstore in Scottsdale is a great place to just lose an afternoon !
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  • Susan Swanson
    January 1, 1970
    With the first book in the Samuel Craddock series you jump right into Samuel's life at a later stage in his life. He's already retired, already lost his beloved wife, already worked as a small town sheriff, already done a lot of things. With this book you get a glimpse back in time. He's just starting his career as a sheriff, still married, and just beginning his adult journey. This book fills in a lot of background while setting the stage for his later life. The central mystery is intriguing. I With the first book in the Samuel Craddock series you jump right into Samuel's life at a later stage in his life. He's already retired, already lost his beloved wife, already worked as a small town sheriff, already done a lot of things. With this book you get a glimpse back in time. He's just starting his career as a sheriff, still married, and just beginning his adult journey. This book fills in a lot of background while setting the stage for his later life. The central mystery is intriguing. I was a little put off by the ending, but in retrospect, Craddock accomplishes what he set out to accomplish. Just because everything isn't tied up in a neat little bow, doesn't mean it isn't the right ending for this book.
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  • Gayle Pace
    January 1, 1970
    MY THOUGHTS The author deals with some real life issues, some real hard issues, drugs. murder and racism. A mystery of a small town that has corruption spewing all over. It even spills over into the police department. Samuel Craddock, takes on the job of Police Chief, not knowing a lot about what it takes to do the job, but he soon starts to learn. I would strongly suggest you read the other books 1-5 first. I felt like I missed out on a lot by not doing that. The book can be read as a stand-alo MY THOUGHTS The author deals with some real life issues, some real hard issues, drugs. murder and racism. A mystery of a small town that has corruption spewing all over. It even spills over into the police department. Samuel Craddock, takes on the job of Police Chief, not knowing a lot about what it takes to do the job, but he soon starts to learn. I would strongly suggest you read the other books 1-5 first. I felt like I missed out on a lot by not doing that. The book can be read as a stand-alone. The author gives the reader this young Craddock who you can't help but love. The author shows how he grows through the story. He starts out fairly naive but matures throughout the story. There are many characters in this book. Each has their own personality, flaws, things you can like or dislike about each. I love true crime and the author based this series on true crime. He wasn't only a lawman, but a husband, son, brother and uncle. He had a wife he loved dearly, a nephew that he adored, a brother that was on the wrong side of the law and a mother that was far from loving. What a mix in one family but the author gave us what is truly a mix in a lot of real families. Craddock finds corruption in his own police force, drugs in the high school, high drug dealers throughout the town, murder of five young black people and the arrest of a young black man who was innocent. You're given a mystery that a young police chief has in his lap to solve. He has full intention on doing that. But will his investigation lead to harm to him and the ones he loves? He will protect them at all costs. He will also try to put his town back where it belongs. A peaceful law abiding town. Don't miss out on Samuel Craddock and his stand that took the corruption in his small town, DOWN!I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and Night Owl Reviews and voluntarily decided to review it.
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  • Kay
    January 1, 1970
    I almost gave this one up in the first two pages of the boring schtupping of one's wife while the oatmeal stays warm, but I am glad I didn't. As the plot thickens in the black-white tensions of small-town Texas, I got a whiff of Elmore Leonard's Easy Rawlins and Co. Glad I stuck with it and watched the tensions and discoveries unfold, and will look for more Samuel Craddock.
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  • John of Canada
    January 1, 1970
    I hate to skew the curve but...I thought most of the characters were annoying,it was a tepid mystery,and I stopped caring and speedread it to get it over with.
  • Lori Rader-Day
    January 1, 1970
    Samuel Craddock as a hot, young police chief? Allllllright.
  • Coralee Hicks
    January 1, 1970
    By book 5 in the Samuel Craddock series, the reader might think they know him. For us he is the wise, level headed, observant Police Chief of Jarret Creek. He is a widower, owner of cattle, and also surprisingly owner of a splendid private art collection. What was he like as a young man? The answer is found in book 6. I came to the work with no expectations. I was delighted when the opening scene shared a loving breakfast prepared by Jeanne. We are in the past; Samuel has been chief for 6 months By book 5 in the Samuel Craddock series, the reader might think they know him. For us he is the wise, level headed, observant Police Chief of Jarret Creek. He is a widower, owner of cattle, and also surprisingly owner of a splendid private art collection. What was he like as a young man? The answer is found in book 6. I came to the work with no expectations. I was delighted when the opening scene shared a loving breakfast prepared by Jeanne. We are in the past; Samuel has been chief for 6 months. Jeanne is not happy that Samuel has accepted the position without discussing it with her. Samuel also chose not to discuss the decision with his family. After he tells more about them, it is understandable why he chooses to keep his distance. The same day that Samuel receives his first herd of cattle, he also is faced with an appalling crime. A house in Darktown, the segregated part of Jarrett Creek has been torched. The fire was set to cover the murder of at least four people. While it is in his jurisdiction, Craddock is quickly advised he has no standing in the eyes of the THP, and perhaps will not be kept in the loop by other law enforcement officers. When the case is given perfunctory treatment, resulting in a quick arrest of one of Craddock's associates, he knows he must become involved. In addition to the murders, Craddock has been charged with cleaning up the nascent drug problem in his town. One of Shames' great strengths in her ability to create realistic settings. Here she holds nothing back as she describes the life of black citizens in Texas in the latter half of the 20th Century. Racism is ascendant and is a part of both white and black citizens. Craddock must face a painful part of his past that has caused great internal suffering. Brothers play an important part of the narrative. Why does one choose to be a useful citizen and the other choose a life of crime? What makes a man a coward? How important is family in forming a person's character? The reader listens to Craddock's thoughts, but is left to ponder the answers. In an interview given while promoting this book, Shames mentioned considering quitting writing. I am very glad she persevered. Highly recommended
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  • Steve Goble
    January 1, 1970
    I loved the rural Texas setting. I grew up among rural people in a different state, but I recognized many of the attitudes on display. The small-town politics, racism and cultural mistrust seemed very real to me, and I liked that Samuel Craddock, the rookie police chief, was willing to fight his way through that and see some measure of justice done. Craddock is a decent man in a tough spot, and ably navigates the world of prejudice and racism around him in an effort to do what is right. His appr I loved the rural Texas setting. I grew up among rural people in a different state, but I recognized many of the attitudes on display. The small-town politics, racism and cultural mistrust seemed very real to me, and I liked that Samuel Craddock, the rookie police chief, was willing to fight his way through that and see some measure of justice done. Craddock is a decent man in a tough spot, and ably navigates the world of prejudice and racism around him in an effort to do what is right. His approach, quiet and purposeful, seems realistic to me.I would classify this book as a police procedural. The plot does not depend on cerebral clue parsing. Instead, the outcome depends more on a hard-working cop doing what a good cop must do, poke and pry and push until the truth shakes out. Nor does this story wrap everything up in a neat little bow. The ending feels as real as the crime itself, and the protagonist is keenly aware of what he can, and can't accomplish. Terry Shames also pulls off the very neat trick of first person, present tense narration -- something that usually hits me like a cheese-grater on my cerebellum, but which absolutely works here. This book is the newest in a series, but it is a flashback to the protagonist's early days as police chief in a tiny Texas town. I have not read the previous entries in the series, so I can't really speak to what this flashback reveals about Craddock and the people around him. I am sure many of the characters met here play roles in other books. I also am sure I want to check out the other books in the series. Having met the younger Craddock and read about him, I am very interested to see what he becomes.
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  • Ed
    January 1, 1970
    #6 in the Samuel Craddock mystery series. This is a prequel, to the 1970s and Samuel Craddock's first year as Chief of Police for Jarrett Creek, TX. An entertaining and atmospheric look at rural Texas at a time when race relations meant offhand discrimination. Craddock meets opposition when he looks into a death of a black family that a Highway Patrol officer has decided on flimsy evidence was caused by a man Craddock can't believe committed the crime. An engrossing story.When the Jarrett Creek #6 in the Samuel Craddock mystery series. This is a prequel, to the 1970s and Samuel Craddock's first year as Chief of Police for Jarrett Creek, TX. An entertaining and atmospheric look at rural Texas at a time when race relations meant offhand discrimination. Craddock meets opposition when he looks into a death of a black family that a Highway Patrol officer has decided on flimsy evidence was caused by a man Craddock can't believe committed the crime. An engrossing story.When the Jarrett Creek Fire Department is called to douse a blaze on the outskirts of town, they discover a grisly scene: five black young people have been murdered. Newly elected Chief of Police Samuel Craddock, just back from a stint in the Air Force, finds himself an outsider in the investigation headed by the Texas Highway Patrol. He takes an immediate dislike to John Sutherland, a racist trooper. Craddock’s fears are realized when Sutherland arrests Truly Bennett, a young black man whom Craddock knows and respects. Sutherland cites dubious evidence that points to Bennett, and Craddock uncovers facts leading in another direction. When Sutherland refuses to relent, Craddock is faced with a choice that will define him as a lawman.
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  • Vinnie Hansen
    January 1, 1970
    Although a prequel, An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock is the sixth book Terry Shames wrote for the Samuel Craddock series, and I read it sixth. In this prequel, Shames steps into darker territory, which suits me fine--I like dark. But reading the prequel first might make readers anticipate a darker series than what awaits them. While any of Shames' books makes sense on its own, the series layers the characters and textures the community of Jarrett Creek, Texas. I enjoyed the new info about Although a prequel, An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock is the sixth book Terry Shames wrote for the Samuel Craddock series, and I read it sixth. In this prequel, Shames steps into darker territory, which suits me fine--I like dark. But reading the prequel first might make readers anticipate a darker series than what awaits them. While any of Shames' books makes sense on its own, the series layers the characters and textures the community of Jarrett Creek, Texas. I enjoyed the new info about Samuel Craddock in the prequel as "reveals." I don't know if I would have enjoyed them as much as backstory. When book one starts, Samuel is a widower. In An Unsettling Crime, we meet Samuel's wife in the "flesh." Getting a glimpse of Jeanne after spending five books with Samuel's idealized version of her is a surprise, and I liked it that way. Thumbs up for this book that goes back in time only to confront racial tensions that seem all too contemporary. But read it sixth, not first.
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  • Chris
    January 1, 1970
    Not having read any of the books in this series, I cannot comment on how well it works as a prequel but, on its own, it's a capable mystery involving a likable and well-developed, young police chief who is quickly in over his head when a burned house reveals five dead including several under age and killed by gunshot. Samuel Craddock's job has been fairly easy and he's inclined to let the Texas Rangers handle this complicated and ugly crime. But when a young African-American man from town is arr Not having read any of the books in this series, I cannot comment on how well it works as a prequel but, on its own, it's a capable mystery involving a likable and well-developed, young police chief who is quickly in over his head when a burned house reveals five dead including several under age and killed by gunshot. Samuel Craddock's job has been fairly easy and he's inclined to let the Texas Rangers handle this complicated and ugly crime. But when a young African-American man from town is arrested, Samuel is certain he's innocent and cannot let him be railroaded by a corrupt, racist system. Craddock is simultaneously dealing with a drug problem at the high school and family issues. Shames' narrative style is calm and relaxed but she creates realistic tension in the right places and never resorts to melodrama. A smart, thoughtful mystery exploring issues of small towns, racism, family dysfunction, and ethics.
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  • Leslie Karst
    January 1, 1970
    This prequel to the award-winning Samuel Craddock mysteries is the first of the series I’ve read, and I’m now rarin’ to get to the others. I was initially surprised by Shames’ use of the first person present tense, a difficult style to pull off, but by the third page I realized that this device worked beautifully to draw the reader into the emotions and drama of the story. Shames does a masterful job evoking a sense of place—a small town in central Texas in the mid-1980s—but what will keep you r This prequel to the award-winning Samuel Craddock mysteries is the first of the series I’ve read, and I’m now rarin’ to get to the others. I was initially surprised by Shames’ use of the first person present tense, a difficult style to pull off, but by the third page I realized that this device worked beautifully to draw the reader into the emotions and drama of the story. Shames does a masterful job evoking a sense of place—a small town in central Texas in the mid-1980s—but what will keep you reading is the moral center of her young protagonist, newly-appointed Chief of Police Samuel Craddock, and his determination to cross racial and class lines to prove the innocence of the young black man accused of murder.
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  • Stacy
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this prequel. I thought I would enjoy meeting Samuel’s wife (who I didn’t like as much as I thought I would), but the real pleasure was meeting the young Samuel. His beginnings in law enforcement and his growth during this case really informs his relationship with the community in the (previous) books dealing with later years. The mystery was an interesting and complex case that wasn’t closed neatly and tidily. Samuel accomplished what he said he wanted to, but given who he was I really enjoyed this prequel. I thought I would enjoy meeting Samuel’s wife (who I didn’t like as much as I thought I would), but the real pleasure was meeting the young Samuel. His beginnings in law enforcement and his growth during this case really informs his relationship with the community in the (previous) books dealing with later years. The mystery was an interesting and complex case that wasn’t closed neatly and tidily. Samuel accomplished what he said he wanted to, but given who he was dealing with, I find it hard to think there would not be further repercussions. In that respect, the ending seemed a little unfinished for me.
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  • Brace1737
    January 1, 1970
    Note:This is the sixth book in the series, but it's actually a prequel to the series. You decide if you want to start reading this fine series with this novel or the first book, A Killing at Cotton Hill.ReviewThere have been hints of a case in the past that established the reputation of Samuel Craddock. This is the case when Craddock was new at the job of police chief and very green. His wife is not sure that he is up to the task. A friend is accused of killing the family of a Houston drug lord. Note:This is the sixth book in the series, but it's actually a prequel to the series. You decide if you want to start reading this fine series with this novel or the first book, A Killing at Cotton Hill.ReviewThere have been hints of a case in the past that established the reputation of Samuel Craddock. This is the case when Craddock was new at the job of police chief and very green. His wife is not sure that he is up to the task. A friend is accused of killing the family of a Houston drug lord. Samuel is the only one who wants to stand up for him.Comment:A regional series well worth your time and consideration.
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    I am really enjoying this series. This one is a prequel to the others. It takes us back to when Samuel was young and just starting out as police chief. Jeanne is around and nephew Tom is just a little boy. We learn some history of the characters in this little town and get a better understanding of our protagonist and his background.
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  • Lake County Public Library
    January 1, 1970
    If you have not followed this series, this prequel is a good place to begin. Samuel Craddock is a young, inexperienced chief of police confronted with a brutal house fire that is obviously more than an accident. A well-plotted and thoughtful muster/crime novel that focuses on characters and tense moments rather than chase scenes and shootouts.-- Chris, Dyer-Schererville Branch
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  • Janet Martin
    January 1, 1970
    This step back to Craddock's earlier life was a lot of fun, but not quite as compelling as the rest in the series. I appreciate the background, though, and suspect other fans of this fine series will too.
  • KAREN VANZANDT
    January 1, 1970
    Nice to have a plain, uncomplicated good guyAlmost enough to make you think a worthy protagonist, competent writing, and careful plotting can still make for a good read. Well done.
  • Krissy Neddo
    January 1, 1970
    Love, love this series. Such a sense of place and feel like I am part of the community when I read it. Just love them. Reminds me of Josie Grey series by Tricia Fields.
  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    Couldn't get through it - 100 pages in I gave up - Started to remind me a little of to Kill a Mockingbird in the beginning - same theory I thought - won't read her books again
  • Nancy Gober
    January 1, 1970
    Delightful readAlways enjoy a Texas story. Having lived in a small town understand they walk a little different walk and too often see wrong people convicted.
  • Betsy
    January 1, 1970
    I liked the honest title and appreciated the doggedness with which Craddock approached this case, one of his first.
  • Lorlee
    January 1, 1970
    In essence a prequel to her other books on Sam Craddock which sets his place in the town when he first arrived. Five black people are murdered and an innocent man is framed. Sam -- who has no authority -- works to find the answers to clear him. A little convoluted at the end.
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