Misty Flats: A Tale of Sin and Redemption by F. Walton Avery
Misty Flats, North Carolina, isn’t precisely a town – it’s more a collection of buildings, of businesses, of families – nor is it known for being the backdrop to violent crimes. But when Greenville Sheriff Joshua Reynolds’ wife turns up dead in a well, a bloody hatchet found not too far away from the body, the whole community becomes embroiled in a mystery the likes of which it has never seen. On the surface, Joshua appears to be an upstanding fellow: served overseas in the Vietnam War, protects and serves the people of Misty Flats, has a family of his own. Yet war has an odd way of warping a soldier’s mind, and Joshua has an unshakable case of PTSD that leads him to erratic and violent behavior – not to mention mental blackouts, during which he doesn’t remember a thing he says or does. Is it possible that Joshua is responsible for his own wife’s murder? Could his drug-dealing brother have something to do with it? With friends and enemies alike rallying to puzzle out the clues, it’s only a matter of time before the truth is laid bare.
It is often said that truth is stranger than fiction, and readers will be delighted to know that this story is based on an actual murder case, though the names and specifics have of course been changed. Perhaps the most powerful thing about Misty Flats is that it so accurately illustrates how PTSD can mutate our loved ones, piece by piece, into complete strangers. It is also alarming to realize how little assistance our country’s veterans are given once returning from conflicts overseas. The result of this moral gray area is such that readers will be forced to sympathize both with the murder victim and – potentially – her murderer, himself a victim of inescapable psychological circumstances.
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