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Signs in the Blood    by Vicki Lane order for
Signs in the Blood
by Vicki Lane
Order:  USA  Can
Dell, 2005 (2005)
Paperback, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Pat Elliott

If you have ever walked the hills and byways of rural Appalachia, you will feel at home with their descriptions in Signs in the Blood. If you have not visited there, you will quickly become enchanted with places like Grudger's Stand, Bear Tree Creek, Hog Run Road, Devil's Fork and Lonesome Holler.

This is a story about a woman, Elizabeth Goodweather, trying to find her way alone after being widowed. Two men have expressed interest in her, but each of them could be the one who brutally murdered Cletus, a simple man who hunted and sang in the mountains. Though Elizabeth has lived in rural Appalachia for twenty years, she has not learned who lives on the other side of her mountain. Her quiet life is shattered by violence, and Elizabeth is caught up against her will in a hundred year old mystery and four murders. There's a snake handling preacher, an artist who thinks he is God, a vicious militant group and a commune. All the characters who people this land are engrossing: Miss Dessie, Little Sylvie, Cletus, Elizabeth's friend Birdie, and Harice Tyler who preaches at the Holiness Church and encourages Elizabeth to take up snake handling (Elizabeth takes up the snakes but not in a way the Harice intended).

This is much more than a story about Little Sylvie and what happened to her and her baby. It is about the murder of a simple man and young woman who only wanted to please her father. It is about a woman trying to find faith, wishing she could believe with the faith of the mountain people. Signs in the Blood is a satisfying book that makes the reader wish for more after the last page.

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