Return to Crutcher Mountain

Mystery & Thrillers, General Fiction

By Melinda Clayton

Publisher : Vanilla Heart Publishing

ABOUT Melinda Clayton

Melinda Clayton



 Return to Crutcher Mountain


No one with Jessie’s history of childhood trauma could make it through unscathed, and Jessie is no exception.  As recounted in Appalachian Justice, Jessie is an adult survivor of horrendous childhood abuse.  At the age of thirteen, on a stormy night on top of Crutcher Mountain, Jessie was rescued by Billy May Platte, a reclusive mountain woman who understood only too well what Jessie had suffered. 

Now, at the age of forty-seven, Jessie is a success, at least by all outward appearances.  Though divorced and childless, Jessie has built a successful career as a producer of big screen historical dramas and has a reputation as a hardworking perfectionist.  But underneath it all, Jessie still struggles to reconcile the broken pieces of her past.  As she explains:

I did attempt psychotherapy, not once but twice.  The first therapist outlined a meticulous treatment plan designed to encourage me to be an active participant in my own healing.  We discussed my shortcomings and spent weeks devising action steps to assist me in reaching my goals.  In the end, when confronted with so much paper and ink proof of my own issues, I did what any rational person would do when confronted with such insurmountable odds.  I quit.

The second therapist took a different track.  He assured me of my inherent worth.  He validated my feelings, no matter how terrible, how frighteningly horrid they were.  He accepted me unconditionally, regaled me with never ending positive regard, and sat in nonjudgmental acceptance of me.  I quit him, too.  If he couldn’t see the flaws so obviously apparent within me, I didn’t trust his abilities as a therapist.

It’s hard to find one’s way out of a circle.

Little does she know, Billy May’s dying wish may just bring her the peace she so desires.

In honor of Billy May’s final request, Jessie has invited an agency that works with children with developmental disabilities to establish a wilderness retreat for special needs children on top of Crutcher Mountain.  Everything has come together beautifully, until a series of strange events threatens to shut down the operation.  Petty vandalism, a mysterious fire, and an anonymous note left for Jessie, demanding that she return to Crutcher Mountain.

Unsure what to expect, Jessie returns to West Virginia in search of answers and finds more than she bargained for.  Along the way she falls in love with the residents of the Platte Lodge for Children, none more so than ten year old Robby O’Brien, a freckle faced, earnest little boy who was diagnosed at birth with Down Syndrome and who, upon the death of his grandfather, finds himself alone in a scary world.

Robby knows a secret. 

Used to being misunderstood, Robby longs for someone to tell his secret to, someone who will listen and understand.

As Jessie searches for answers, determined to save not only the Lodge but Robby as well, she must open her heart to the truths she discovers and place her trust in a lonely little boy.  It’s only by doing so that she can save herself.