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Jim Davidson
Snowfall in Virginia
Jim Davidson, author
Chris Hamilton’s life was perfect….For a while. He had a beautiful home in the country, his own business, a daughter and a beautiful girlfriend in Sophia. His recent trip to Texas saw three men die and the discovery of a hidden treasure…He had returned to Virginia unscathed, before realizing the hardest part of the game was still being played out……Now, all he had to do was find a way to keep it! He soon finds the past is not only close behind him but has been watching him the entire time. Things he thought no one knew…someone knew. Millions of dollars he thought was safe…was not. Mysterious letters, vindictive ex-lovers, unscrupulous landowners, family members, workers, even his girlfriend somehow know far too much! Then two unexpected visitors, the ones that were involved in his nefarious dealings in Texas, arrive at his house, asking more questions. A storm has been coming for a while, and when it hits it hits hard! Everything from his past explodes and comes to its convoluted climax all at once, and he soon finds that – Mysterious things happen when there is Snowfall in Virginia.
Chris Hamilton, a Virginia-based builder, seems to have his life on track, with an exciting new lover, Sophia, in this sequel to Tree of Redemption. But there are hints that all is not well: his recent past includes his "mysterious" father, a burned-out house and a treasure. Also, he's getting bizarre haiku poems that appear threatening. Then an otherwise good worker accuses Chris of betraying him. Then there's an ongoing problem with Hairfield Gess, a dishonest land developer, and the treasure is also leading to family squabbles. Meanwhile, Sophia's father, Garcia, who's also a partner in the treasure dispersal, is worried about the safety of his daughter. Slowly, Chris's life starts spiraling out of control.

Davidson is a master of the slow burn. He does an effective job of interspersing Chris's daily life in rural Virginia with the "dark side" of his life, centered on the treasure. We get a thorough introduction to Chris's large and often oddball family, such as his mother taking food to her soon-to-be-ex son-in-law since, as an artist, he couldn't take care of himself. Best of all is the growing romance with Sophia, described with tenderness. The large cast and complex plot will often prove challenging to keep up with for readers who haven't read the first book, but the setting and main characters are always engaging.

As the treasure plot gradually unspools, the book gets darker, with Chris's life becoming more complex and hints that something is very wrong here ramping up the tension. Davidson toys with readers’ expectations, leading us to believe that a seemingly inexplicable death is a tightly held secret, but then jolting us with the truth, all as greed threatens to tear the family apart and Chris comes ever closer to collapse. The resolution is a great surprise and perfectly plotted—a wonderful catharsis that will have readers cheering for Chris.

Takeaway: Sharply plotted thriller of family, treasure, and secrets.

Comparable Titles: K.P. Gresham, Reavis Z. Wortham.

Production grades
Cover: B+
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: A-