Beneath Devil's Bridge by Loreth Anne White

It's book club time again, after taking a bit of time off with the holidays and some reorganization.  This club is part of our local USO, so we often meet up online since we're scattered throughout Colorado and a few other bases.  Our first pick for 2023?  Beneath Devil's Bridge by Loretta Anne White.

About Beneath Devil's Bridge:

A true crime podcast yields new revelations about a shocking murder.

True crime podcaster Trinity Scott is chasing breakout success, and her brand-new serial may get her there. Her subject is Clayton Jay Pelley. More than two decades ago, the respected family man and guidance counselor confessed to the brutal murder of teenage student Leena Rai. But why he killed her has always been a mystery.

In a series of exclusive interviews from prison, Clayton discloses to Trinity the truth about what happened that night beneath Devil’s Bridge. It’s not what anyone in the Pacific Northwest town of Twin Falls expects. Clayton says he didn’t do it. Was he lying then? Or now?

As her listeners increase and ratings skyrocket, Trinity is missing a key player in the story: Rachel Walczak, the retired detective who exposed Pelley’s twisted urges and put him behind bars. She’s not interested in playing Clayton’s game - until Trinity digs deeper and the podcast’s reverb widens. Then Rachel begins to question everything she thinks she knows about the past.

With each of Clayton’s teasing reveals, one thing is clear: he’s not the only one in Twin Falls with a secret.

My Thoughts:

We read this over four weeks in book club, with weekly meetings.  The first three meetings we were all quite into it, guessing at the mystery and trying to figure it all out.  But the final meeting?  It was a bit of a letdown.  The last few chapters of the book felt rushed and we ended up agreeing that we'd have rather read another 100 pages and taken our time on the ending.

The author is talented and the story moved along well until that point.  We loved reading and discussing it for sure. But, at the end, it just seemed a bit like there was 350 page limit, so everything had to tie up extra quickly.  Another 50-100 pages would have given the book a more satisfying finale.