Title: Dawn Over Dayfield
Author: Karenna Colcroft
Publisher: DSP Publications
Release Date: March 1, 2016
Genre(s): Contemporary / Mystery
Page Count: 189
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
After the death of his adoptive mother, Andy Forrest decides to track down his biological family. The search leads him to the struggling central Massachusetts town of Dayfield—and local historian Weston Thibeault, the town’s only other openly gay man. With the help of Weston, Andy uncovers secrets about his birth father, the youngest son of the Chaffees, the family that once owned Dayfield’s largest employer, a furniture factory that closed thirty years earlier.
As Andy and Weston work together, they find a connection to a scandal that rocked the Chaffee family over 125 years ago. But small towns like to bury their secrets, and many of the older residents of Dayfield will do anything to stop Andy and Weston from discovering the truth about the town and its inhabitants.
Dawn Over Dayfield centers on two sets of mysterious deaths in the Massachusetts town of Dayfield – one in 1892 and the second in 1985. Andy Forrest comes to town to learn more about his biological father Vardon Chaffee, and with the help of town historian Weston Thiebault, discovers he died in a suspicious car accident, shortly after Andy was born and placed up for adoption. Why did Jason Thibeault, Weston’s uncle and Vardon’s friend, left town shortly afterwards? Oliver Chaffee and Larry Thibeault died in the 1892 factory fire, trapped in a room due to a sabotaged fire door. Why were they together in the factory after hours?
The strength of this well-written book is the tight plot that keeps your attention as Andy and Weston learn more about the deaths and the extent to which townsfolk will go to keep their secrets. Their fledgling romantic relationship is secondary to the mystery, with just a few scenes, but their bond is strong. Colcroft keeps all the various subplots – past and present – moving together without feeling too rushed or convoluted, but I would have liked a bit more time spent on the relationship between Weston and his father.
A very enjoyable read with a strong mystery plot!