Cast of Characters
Chief Deputy Tom Bridger
John Bridger, Tom’s deceased father
Anne, Tom’s deceased mother
Chris and Carol, Tom’s deceased brother & sister-in-law
Simon, Tom’s nephew
Grady & Darla Thompson, Carol’s parents, who have
custody of Simon
Dr. Rachel Goddard, veterinarian
Michelle, Rachel’s sister
Luke Campbell, Rachel’s former lover
Pauline Turner McClure, murder victim
Mary Lee McClure Scott, Pauline’s daughter
Sarelda Turner, Pauline’s mother
Barbara & Jack Watford, Pauline’s sister & brother-in-law
Amy, Barbara & Jack’s daughter
Jean, Pauline’s youngest sister
Holly Turner, Jean’s daughter
Adam McClure, Pauline’s husband
Robert McClure, Adam’s brother
Ed McMcClure, Adam & Robert’s brother
Natalie, Ed’s wife
Sheriff Toby Willingham
Deputy Brandon Connelly
Deputy Sgt. Dennis Murray
Dr. Gretchen Lauter, Medical Examiner
Troy Shackleford, chief suspect & Holly’s father
Buddy Shackleford, Troy’s nephew
Rose Shackleford, Troy’s cousin
Rudy O’Dell, suspect
Suggested Book Discussion Questions
1. How does the mountain setting shape the characters and the story?
2. Did the book make you want to learn more about the Melungeon people of Appalachia?
3. How does being Melungeon affect Tom Bridger’s life?
4. Does the author use winter weather effectively to create atmosphere?
5. Are Mrs. Turner’s actions understandable and believable? Is she trying to protect herself or Holly?
6. Is Holly’s fear of her uncle, Jack Watford, realistic?
7. Why is Rachel drawn to Holly? Why does she take risks to help the girl?
8. Why is Rachel reluctant to fall in love with Tom?
9. What impression of Rachel’s background and family do you get from this story?
10. Are the sheriff’s actions believable? Who is he trying to protect?
11. On the whole, is the author’s portrayal of the mountain people realistic or stereotyped?
12. What do you think happens to the characters after the story ends?