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#BookReview--> Moriah's Landing #1 : Secret Sanctuary by Amanda Stevens

Can a place be evil? 
Can it induce people towards crimes? 
Are witches and ghosts real? 

Moriah’s Landing, a small port town, looked ordinary at first glance. A small town where everyone knows everyone and where the major income is through tourism , one wouldn't suspect anything out of the ordinary ever happening but
Elizabeth Douglas has always felt that something is just not right about the place. She feels the town's history of witches, warlocks, bulk assassinations of witches, legends of ghosts and the mysterious murders of four women twenty years before have lend the place an evil aura and she feels that she can feel the undercurrents of this evil.

Dr. Elizabeth Douglas, a genius, an expert in criminology, and a professor at Heathrow College, an all girls institution where she is no older than many of her student, is also haunted by a secret. Five years ago, when she and her friends were asked to spend a night in the local graveyard legendary for its ghost, McFarland Leary, her friend Claire was abducted and brutally tortured. Though Claire managed to escape but she lost her mind and has ever since been in an institution with no memory of what happened to her or who kidnapped her and Elizabeth has felt herself responsible for Claire’s condition.

As if the unsolved and baffling murders of four women from twenty years ago plus the mysterious abduction of her friend Claire five years before were not enough, Elizabeth soon becomes the primary witness in two murders being the one who discovers their bodies, as if the murderer wanted it to be so.

Soon it becomes clear that the killer is targeting young women of Moriah’s Landing and Detective Cullen Ryan begrudgingly turns to Elizabeth for help. Elizabeth has always been in love with Cullen but she was always a “scrawny” girl for Cullen, who was once a boy on the wrong side of the law as well as the town and who now has turned himself respectable, returning to Moriah’s Landing as detective in the Moriah’s Landing police department.

But are these murders victims of the ghost said to rise every five years?
Are they somehow linked to the murders twenty years before or with the unsuccessful attempt on Claire five years ago?
Or are they just a thrill for some sick, madman?

Now its upto Cullen and Elizabeth to solve the riddle of the murders, catch the killer before he gets to Elizabeth, who it seems is his next victim and also solve the mystery of their feelings for each other.

The introduction to the town of Moriah’s Landing is unique and spine chilling. A fantastic start to a beautifully written multiple author series, Amanda Stevens succinctly builds an atmosphere of mystery with legends about witches, ghost stories where the ghost of McFarland Leary rises every five years to seek revenge, strange murders of the past and talks about secret societies of scientists conducting covert genetic experiments in Moriah’s Landing. 

The stage is set and the main characters introduced expertly for the successive books in the series. The author is able to weave together modern gothic, mystery, romance, history, legends about witches, ghosts, futuristic genetic experiments, covert societies, a genius murderer and conflicts of the heart all together without confusing to give a book that is tastefully written and one that keeps us hooked till the end, leaving the reader excited to read the other books in the series.

Secret Sanctuaryis a beautifully written book where myth and logic come together and we get a book that can be read any number of times. I give it a 4.5 out of 5 with a strong recommendation to read the book as well as the series.


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