The Ursulina – Brian Freeman

Oh my goodness! I’m still reeling from this one…I don’t even know where to begin… 

In the prologue, a l0-year-old girl, who is also narrating the story, has a chance encounter with a creature that she describes as an Ursulina – and it has captivated her ever since…

Rebecca Colder Todd is the only female deputy in Black Wolf County and as such, she’s assigned to work the night shift on Christmas Eve.  As she answers random calls, including a naked resident dancing in 7 degree weather, she reflects to the reader about her tumultuous relationship with her husband Ricky and her growing desire for a divorce. Another call for vandalism comes – the victim, a local copper mine worker, who is involved in a lawsuit against mine owners for sexual harassment. In a town bitterly divided due to the lawsuit, malicious mischief is an ongoing occurrence, and this evening is no different.  Shortly thereafter, a call comes in for a missing person – not just any person, but the attorney defending the mine against the harassment lawsuit, Gordon Brink. His wife is unable to locate him anywhere…. Upon Rebecca’s arrival, a quick search of an ‘off limits’ office reveals a murder victim, or what’s left of him, with the words, “I am the Ursulina” written in blood above the bed where he lies, seemingly shredded by claws. 

As Rebecca sounds the alarm and other deputies arrive to assist, the reader learns that six years ago, there was a double murder with a similar message left, which at the time brought about unwanted notoriety and the creation of an urban legend of sorts for the town.  As the investigation commences, Gordon’s son Jay quickly falls under suspicion – known to have a difficult relationship with his father, and no real alibi – the possibility of a copycat murder seems plausible, but Rebecca isn’t convinced. 

Meanwhile, Rebecca’s personal life implodes as she discovers the danger of a whispered lie – and just how jealous, calculating and violent her soon to be ex-husband can be…. Recovering from a brutal assault, Rebecca is sidelined from her police work, but finds solace in another unexpected place…

Soon another murder stuns the small mining town once more, and Rebecca’s old partner asks for her perceptions in what appears to be another Ursulina death – this time the victim is someone well known to the team…

There are just no words I can write that will do this book the proper justice! It is an exceptionally well written and orchestrated nail-biter, as you flip through the pages  hurriedly to see what is going to happen next. Despite subtle clues along the way, I was completely unprepared for the ending, and am still floored a couple of days later, as I struggle to write this review without giving anything away!  I was not aware that this is apparently a prequel to a book published last year – easily read as a standalone, however. I’ve been a huge Brian Freeman fan since his first (I believe) book, Immoral, hit the shelves, and he just gets better and better!!  Please, please give this one a look – you will NOT be disappointed!!