Local author Judith Kelly Quaempts first introduced us to Winter, a fictional town situated just outside the Umatilla Indian Reservation near Pendleton, in her first novel, “A Place Called Winter.” Quaempts has returned to the tiny town in “A Creek Named Sorrow,” where new neighbors and old friends are hiding dark secrets.
In 1939, a lonely and distraught young woman listened to the voices that told her the answer to her problems lay in the waters of Sorrow Creek. In present-day Winter, a girl is drawn to the same creek when her situation becomes unbearable. Are the figures she encounters a figment of her tortured imagination, or the ghosts of desperation past?
When Lillian Voight, an elderly resident of Winter, is found murdered in her home, her family is devastated. As the investigation into her death progresses, more questions than answers turn up. And the town’s newest inhabitants, the Fraziers, come under scrutiny when neighbors start to notice the family’s odd and reclusive behavior.
Who had a reason to kill Lillian, and will the skeletons hidden in Winter’s closets come tumbling out in time to save some of its most vulnerable residents? Quaempts skillfully weaves new characters into the tight-knit family that is Winter, and hints at a plan for a third installment in the narrative.