Mercy Creek by Matt Matthews
Matthews, a pastor in South Carolina, debuts with an enticing full-blown whodunit that succeeds without the usual big twist ending.
Sixteen-year-old Isaac Lawson's summer job at the local hardware store in his sleepy Southern hometown of Rooksville, Va., is leaving him feeling isolated from his baseball-playing friends and gone-for-the-summer girlfriend. So Isaac concentrates on winning the reward being offered to whoever can catch the vandal flooding and painting flames on the wall of the town's retirees' homes while they're away.
There are no signs of forced entry, and when Isaac discovers a stash of copied keys at the hardware store he's sure that he's is on the right track.
But Isaac's sleuthing takes a captivating turn when he finds out that Rooksville has a history with the Klan, and that many of the vandal's targets were volunteer firefighters as young men. The mystery, paired with Isaac's struggle to come to terms with the recent death of his mother and his father's new dating life, is a first-rate effort displaying skill, sensitivity, and grace.