"Compelling courtroom drama of prosecuting sexual crimes in Ozark hill country of Missouri."
Reviewed by Tanzey Cutter
Posted March 17, 2014
For four years, Elsie Arnold has been a prosecutor in
Barton, Missouri, in southwest Ozark hill country. She's
known for her hard work and expertise at winning positive
verdicts, but the high-profile case that's been dumped on
Elsie by her less-than-charming boss will test her to the
limit. The Taney case is a dysfunctional family where the
father is accused of sexual abuse and incest involving his
three young daughters. Nothing is any worse than this, and
Elsie is determined to seek justice for the girls.
From the very beginning, Elsie encounters problems as she
investigates the facts of the case. Not only is she unable
to locate a main witness, but the girls are averse to
talking about their father and the alleged abuse. It
doesn't help things that their mother seems to be devising
a different agenda for the family.
As court convenes, Elsie encounters an evil offender who's
backed by a radical religious group that believes in a
father's right to do whatever he wants with his family.
Adding to this volatile mix is Elsie's confusing
relationship with her unreliable boss, as well as dealing
with her disagreeable cop boyfriend. With so much to
handle, personally and professionally, will Elsie be able
to achieve the verdict she seeks and set a precedent to
protect vulnerable families in the future?
THE CODE OF THE HILLS by debut author Nancy Allen is
a powerfully intense courtroom mystery/drama that grasps
readers' interest from the first page and never lets up
until the dynamic ending. As a former prosecutor from the
Ozark hills, Nancy Allen has written an expertly
convincing exposé of the court system and the handling of
cases of familial sexual abuse. THE CODE OF THE HILLS is an
outstanding debut that should not be missed!
To uncover the truth, she'll have to break the code of
In the Missouri Ozarks, some things aren't talked about…
even abuse. But prosecutor Elsie Arnold is determined to
change that. When she is assigned to prosecute a high-
profile incest case in which a father is accused of abusing
his three young daughters, Elsie is ready to become the
Ozarks' avenging angel.
But as Elsie sinks her teeth into the case, everything
begins to turn sour. The star witness goes missing; the
girls refuse to talk about their father, who terrorizes the
courtroom from the moment he enters; and Elsie begins to
suspect that their tough-as-nails mother has ulterior
motives. To make matters worse, Elsie receives gruesome
threats from local extremists, warning her to mind her own
While Elsie swears not to let a sex offender walk, she
realizes the odds — and maybe the town — are against her,
and her life begins to crumble. But amidst all of the
conflict, the safety of three young girls hangs in the
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