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THE ST. GEORGE SPECTRUM
Dr. Trenton Hendricks was last seen Friday, April 8, when he set out alone on a backpacking trip. Hendricks's Jeep Grand Cherokee was located Tuesday at the Chuckwalla Trailhead, but after six days and thousands of man-hours, the official search has been called off. He is presumed to be deceased.
It was supposed to be a girls' weekend in scenic St. George, Utah, that would included shopping, trying out the local cuisine, and participating in a breast cancer fund-raiser. The fact that one of the organizers of the fund-raising event, a local doctor, had disappeared two months before was not supposed to be Sadie's problem.
When Sadie learns that her friend Caro and Caro's cousin, Tess, have started a grassroots investigation into Dr. Hendrick's disappearance, Sadie graciously refuses to be a part of it. With her wedding to plan and her most recent case still fresh in her mind, Sadie is determined to leave this case to the police—until she meets the ex-wife of the missing man.
How could she not ask a few questions ... that lead to more questions ... that lead to a small town and even more questions? When the local police ask her to be their eyes and ears, Sadie can't help but jump in with both feet. Before she knows it, she is on the rocky road of another investigation, following a convoluted trail of good intentions, hidden motivations, and philanthropy turned big business.
- Size: 5½" x 8
- Pages: 338
- Year Published: 2013
- Book on CD: Unabridged, 8 discs
About the Author
Josi S. Kilpack began her first novel in 1998. Her seventh novel,
Sheep’s Clothing, won the 2007 Whitney Award for Mystery/
Suspense. Rocky Road is Josi’s nineteenth novel and the tenth book
in the Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery Series.
Josi currently lives in Willard, Utah, with her husband and
For more information about Josi, you can visit her website at
www.josiskilpack.com, read her blog at www.josikilpack.blogspot
.com, or contact her via e-mail at Kilpack@gmail.com.
Following the two-month anniversary of Dr. Trenton Hendricks’s disappearance during a hiking trip in the Paradise Point area, his wife, Anita Hendricks, has announced a memorial service to be held in his honor on Wednesday, June 22, at 2:00 at the Red Rock Foundation Hall.
Hendricks was last seen on Friday, April 8, when he set out on a backpacking trip, alone. “He is an experienced hiker,” his wife said in an article that first ran in the April 13 edition of this paper. “And he often takes to the backcountry to clear his head following a busy work week.”
When Hendricks failed to return from the hike, Mrs. Hendricks contacted Search and Rescue. Hendricks’s Jeep Grand Cherokee was found at the Chuckwalla Trailhead the following day, but after six full days and thousands of man-hours, the official search was called off. Nothing belonging to Hendricks was discovered during the search. It is presumed that he is deceased. Hikers are asked to be vigilant as they take to the backcountry and report anything they might discover.
The memorial service will be held just two days prior to the Red Rock Cancer Walk, a Breast Cancer Awareness fund-raising event that Hendricks and his business partner, Dr. Jacob Waters, began nine years ago. Though rumored to be canceled this year due to Hendricks’s disappearance, the event will take place as it has in previous years. When asked about the decision to continue with the event, Mrs. Hendricks said, “It is what Trenton would have wanted. He was passionate about his work and I take comfort in knowing that while the hole he has left in so many lives will never be filled, he left this world a better place than he found it.” In lieu of flowers, it is requested that donations be made to the Red Rock Cancer Fund, which provides free breast cancer screenings to low-income women in Iron and Washington counties and grants to help cover treatment if patients are unable to cover the costs.
Community members are invited to join the fund-raiser this Friday, June 24, at 7:00 p.m. The 12-hour night-walk will begin at 7:30 p.m. and end with a pancake breakfast Saturday morning at 8:00 a.m. Entry fee for the walk is $45 per person. Each participant will receive a T-shirt and a gift bag with contributions from local sponsors.
Sadie finished reading the article and looked up at Caro, her friend of the past year as well as the cousin of Sadie’s fiancé, Pete. Sadie had just arrived at the hotel room in St. George, Utah, where she and Caro would stay as part of an extended girls’ weekend. If she’d felt she could do so without hurting Caro’s feelings, Sadie would likely have stayed home—she’d been gone for most of the month of June—but she loved Caro and didn’t know when she’d have another opportunity to spend time with her like this. Despite Caro being at least ten years Sadie’s junior—mid-forties to Sadie’s late fifties—the two of them got along swimmingly, and Sadie enjoyed Caro’s company very much.
Was it Sadie’s imagination that Caro had been a little too excited to have her read this article as soon as they got into their room? And did Caro also seem expectantly interested in Sadie’s response? “That’s too bad about Dr. Hendricks,” Sadie said, refolding the newspaper carefully and placing it beside her on the bed.
“It is too bad,” Caro said from where she sat facing Sadie on the other double bed. “And weird, right?”
“Weird?” Sadie said, wondering at Caro’s pointed interest. “Weird how?”
“He disappeared … and everyone seems to be assuming he’s dead, but there’s no proof. No one has found his pack, a shoe—nothing.”
“Disappearances are always hard to deal with,” Sadie said, ignoring what she feared was behind Caro’s leading questions. Caro wanted to investigate; Sadie could feel it, but didn’t share Caro’s anticipation. She’d come to St. George to enjoy a few days with her good friend, not to investigate the disappearance of a man she’d never met.
“He was Tess’s doctor, you know, when she found the lump—she said he was really great, and the foundation saved her life. She—and lots of his other patients—are really broken up over his disappearance.”
Sadie put her hands in her lap and pondered a few seconds more before speaking. Caro’s dark eyes were bright with excitement when Sadie looked up at her again. “Please tell me this isn’t why we’re here,” Sadie said with a somewhat pleading smile. “Please tell me we came to attend some plays and go shopping and be a part of the walkathon with your cousin?”
“Of course that’s why we came,” Caro said, looking sheepish as she waved away Sadie’s concern. “Tess and I have participated in this walkathon every year since she was first diagnosed, and I’m so excited that you’re with us this year—you’re going to love Tess.” She looked at the newspaper lying beside Sadie on the bed. “And I didn’t think much about Dr. H’s disappearance, either, when Tess first brought me up to speed on it, but the more I read about it and talked with her, the more I thought that since we’re here maybe we could, you know, look into things. Here, let me get the other articles for you—Tess gave me a whole stack when I got here Sunday.”
Caro hurried to the dresser. Once her back was turned, Sadie let out a breath, trying to figure out how best to communicate that her level of interest in solving a mystery was at an all-time low right now. A glance at the diamond ring on her left hand initiated the familiar zing she felt every time she thought about what it represented. At the age of fifty-eight—after being a widow for more than twenty years and raising her now-adult children on her own—Sadie was engaged. Engaged! To be married!
July 26th had been chosen as the big day … and it was just over one month away—five weeks from today, in fact. It was probably a good thing that Sadie had plenty to do between now and then, this trip with Caro being one of the things that would fill the days of waiting until Sadie became Mrs. Peter Cunningham. For his part, Pete was right now in Cabo San Lucas enjoying a guys’ week of deep sea fishing that offset her girls’ weekend of shopping and pedicures. It was silly how much Sadie missed him, but she did. She saw the ring again and felt the zing once more. Would she ever get used to this?
Sadie blinked and looked up to meet Caro’s bemused expression. “What?”
Caro was sitting on the bed across from Sadie again, holding a stack of papers in both hands—the articles Tess had given her, Sadie assumed. “I asked if Dr. H’s disappearance seems strange to you. Have you dealt with anything like this in your other cases?”
“Not like this, no.” She had been involved in a disappearance case before, though, and couldn’t help thinking about it now that Caro had brought it up. It had been hard—and frightening at times—and yet the resolution had brought a lot of people peace. But she still didn’t want to investigate this one. She wanted to order napkins with her and Pete’s names on them and research honeymoon destinations. That the last few years of her life had been filled with a variety of investigations—murders, mostly, but a few others as well—wasn’t something she wanted to dwell on right now.
Caro seemed disappointed in Sadie’s response. When the two had worked an investigation in New Mexico several months ago, Caro had been a natural: detail-oriented, smart, and uninhibited about sneaking around. But Sadie’s head was in a different place now—she had a wedding to plan, a married life to prepare for. And Pete, who had always served as a support system in the other cases she’d found herself involved in, wasn’t available for her to bounce ideas off of—he was wrestling marlins and swordfish off the coast of Mexico. No, now was not a good time for Sadie to put on her Sherlock Holmes hat.
“I wonder,” Caro said, with boldness coloring her words, “if you and I could look into things while we’re here, ya know? Answer some of the as-yet-unanswered questions and figure out what happened to Dr. Hendricks. It could be fun!”
Fun? “Search and Rescue looked for six days, Caro.” She thought of the expansive wilderness that surrounded this relatively small city—a bit of an oasis in the midst of magnificent red rock mountains, canyons, and plateaus. Even though this was Sadie’s first visit to St. George, she knew about southern Utah’s numerous national parks that protected the unique topography of the region. Though Sadie had hoped to go on a hike or two while they were here, it was crazy to think they might be able to find a missing hiker.
“I don’t mean we should search the backcountry. I mean, why did he go out by himself, and why hasn’t anyone found any of his gear, and what was his personal life like? Professional life? Was anyone angry with him? Did he have debts to hide from?
“St. George isn’t a big city, and the people are nice. I bet we could gather a lot of information—find things the police know nothing about and figure out what really happened to Dr. H.”
Sadie mentally tamped down the curiosity Caro’s questions were stirring. Her own investigative instincts were never very far below the surface, and she repeated Caro’s questions in her mind. Instead of giving in to the tingle and pull, however, she shook her head and tried to think of what Pete would say in response to this. “I’m sure the police investigation is exploring all those questions. And you’re jumping to some pretty extreme conclusions with no evidence or circumstance. Did Tess ask you to do this?”
“Not really,” Caro said, which meant Tess was a part of it. She’d gathered all the articles and given them to Caro for a reason. Did Tess know about Caro’s foray into investigation work? Did she know about Sadie’s?
“I’m happy to share my concerns with Tess, too,” Sadie said, still channeling Pete’s wisdom. “But if you’re thinking of trying to investigate this, you’ll have to count me out.” She smiled in hopes of softening the impact of those words, though she meant every one of them. “Most people who know my history won’t believe this, but I don’t go looking for mysteries to solve—especially now. I have a wedding to plan and I’m still recovering from that cruise. I realize that his disappearance is difficult for the people who cared about Dr. Hendricks, but I’m really not interested in pursuing this, Caro. I’m sorry.”
Looking at the pile of papers in her lap, Caro bit her lip, her disappointment impossible to ignore. Sadie felt bad shooting down Caro’s hopes, but she sincerely meant what she’d said, so she refrained from apologizing again.
“What if … ,” Caro said just as the silence was becoming awkward. Sadie waited for her to continue, but Caro seemed to be thinking hard about what to say, or, perhaps, whether to say it at all. Caro couldn’t know what her delays did for Sadie’s curiosity—it was getting more difficult to hold back. What if Dr. Hendricks did have a reason to disappear?
“What if what?” Sadie asked, still pulling tight on the reins of her interest.
Caro looked up from the articles she seemed to be holding tighter than before and met Sadie’s eyes. “What if we already found something?”
by Heather - reviewed on September 19, 2013
Another fabulous installment of the Sadie Hoffmiller series. I missed Pete in this one, but I loved how Sadie just can resist getting caught up in an unsolved mystery even when she's on a "girls only" vacation. The further I got into the story, the more complex it became... definitely a rocky road of a plot!
A more sensible and confident Sadie takes the wheel steering the way to another exciting read.
by Sheila - reviewed on September 28, 2013
I have read the first nine books in the series, and I have really liked all of them. Main character Sadie Hoffmiller is someone I could be good friends with. After reading all of the books in the series, you do feel like you are back with an old friend. In Rocky Road, Sadie is a more restrained Sadie than we have ever seen before. It isn't too long after her adventure in Alaska and becoming engaged. Speaking of that, I truly missed the hunky, strong and silent type, Pete Cunningham in this story. I kept thinking he would show up, but he never did. I can't wait for the next book when he will return. Sadie was on her own, and performed her super sleuthing ways quite well. Sadie does have the help of her friend Caro(who wasn't too bad with her own investigative skills) and a new policeman, Officer Nielson, who shows a lot of faith and confidence in Sadie. I really liked this new male character. Tess, Caro's cousin, she wasn't to my liking and seemed very immature. The action is toned down in this book, but the mind games are there aplenty. There are also twists and turns that will continually lead you astray, just when you think you have figured things out, surprise you're wrong! The recipes in this book are off the charts, including the barbacoa pork salad that I love from Cafe Rio. As I've said before about this series, many of these books can be read alone, but I STRONGLY suggest you read the others first in the order written. You will understand Sadie better and how she ticks. I love this series and I'm always excited when the next one will be coming out. This book has more Christian themes than other Sadie books, and some violence, but nothing graphic. Rocky Road will take you on another fun ride, where a more sensible and confident Sadie takes the wheel steering the way to another exciting read.
by Melanie - reviewed on October 02, 2013
(4.5 stars) I read book 1 years ago but haven't read any since. What I enjoyed about this book was that I didn't feel like I was lost because I hadn't read books 2-9. There's obviously some history with Pete and it will be fun to go back and learn more about their story. This is a great mystery! I like Sadie--she has a lot of spunk and determination. She seems easy to get along with so it's kind of surprising that Tess doesn't warm up to her. I didn't care for Tess. She seemed like a hindrance and for someone that pushed for them to investigate, she wasn't focused on the task at hand. Caro was caught in the middle between a cousin and good friend. It was an interesting dynamic which created some tension. There are some twists and turns and the ending wasn't what I was expecting!
Another Great Culinary Mystery by Josi S. Kilpack
by Andrea - reviewed on September 29, 2013
Rocky Road is a great addition to the Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mysteries. When I first heard about this book I was excited that it was taking place in a familiar location (St. George, Utah). The story was very intriguing, and my suspicions were proved wrong with Kilpack's twists and turns. The resolution was a big surprise. It all made sense after it was revealed, but I'll admit I was a bit sad about it. The "bad guy" was so smooth. I was definitely taken in, and the idea of someone doing everything this person did is just sad (maybe the idea hit me harder being familiar with the community-yes, I know this is fiction, but the idea of this type of deceit was just sad). The recipes in this book sound so delicious! I can't wait to give them a try. And, the sneak peak of Josi's next book is such a great way to end this book. I am really looking forward to learning more about Sadie's extended family, and how the mystery presented will unfold. Rocky Road is clean with a great amount of suspense. I missed having Pete in this story, but he is mentioned enough throughout that it keeps those interested in their romance happy. If you are looking for an entertaining suspense that is a quick read, don't miss Rocky Road and the rest of the Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mysteries.
by Shauna - reviewed on September 23, 2013
Sadie is back... doing what she does best... and we SO LOVE IT! Originally Sadie was just going on a girls'-out-weekend. They were suppose to go shopping, eating, and walking for the breast cancer fund-raiser. But her friends had other ideas.... Knowing Sadie had solved a few mystery cases, Caro and Tess had put together ideas on how to find out what really happened to Dr. Trenton Hendricks, a local doctor who has helped so many women get through breast cancer and the organizer of the cancer fund-raiser.... He has been missing for the past two months. Sadie wants nothing to do with it as she has the wedding to plan and she doesn't even know any of the people involved. Then she ends up helping with the luncheon for the funeral services and talking with the ex-wife. Seeing how the Doctor's disappearance has affected her, Sadie starts asking questions. One questions leads to another and soon Sadie finds herself right in the middle of the police investigation. Knowing she can possibly help she agrees to find some answers... But it will take her on a very "Rocky Road." SUCH A GOOD BOOK! A DEFINITE MUST READ! And of course there are recipes too! *Ol' Dad's Dutch Chicken *Ol' Dad's Dutch Potatoes *Maddox Rolls w/ Raspberry Butter *No-Brainer Fruit Salad *Mormon Muffins *Funeral Potatoes *Strawberry Pretzel Pie *Waffle Mania Waffles *Cafe Rio-Style Barbacoa Pork w/ Cilantro Lime Rice and Tomatillo Dressing *Fry Sauce *Dream Cookies *and Granny Annie's Rocky Road Fudge
She does it again!
by Julia - reviewed on September 10, 2013
Rocky road is a great addition to the Sadie series. Kept me on my seat the whole time. Josie Kilpack delivers another great book! Can't wait for the next one!