Unaware of two prequels, I tried this on clearance and had fun riding along with a completely different writer. Male works are rare for me and "The Bright Silver Star" is an unusual title. Oblivious to earlier volumes, I didn't detect an interracial couple for numerous chapters; a wonderful touch. I'm drawn to animal-rescuing hearts, people of integrity, and it was easy to like the key cast. Also as a reviewer myself, (Hi there shoppers!) I realize our interpretations don't resonate with everyone. I loved the self-assured, gentle manner with which Mitch stood by his article in the face of an aggressive retort.
Perhaps because I was three novels into a series, it took time to attach to the story. I disliked several external players and one of them opened the novel; which one thinks must be the protagonist. I got on board when narration tuned to the right voice. David Handler doesn't mind injecting blunt dialogue, violence, and other disturbing crimes therefore this mystery hits your gut.
I don't think there's a way to guess the heavy themes that caused despair. They are startling. I at least had no background on any of the cottage families. Multiple scenarios and culprits were successful twists. Even identifying the victims, of disloyalty and other horrors, is shocking. The community David has weaved is layered well enough that I'm pursuing the other novels.