The Secrets They Left Behind

Crooked Lane. Apr. 2020. 304p. ISBN 9781643852997. $26.99. M
Small towns can carry big secrets. When the FBI urges her to assist them with a baffling case, Buffalo NY, patrol officer Shea O’Connor poses as college student Shea Anderson. Over holiday break, three college freshmen had disappeared, inconceivably leaving behind purses and cellphones. The tight-lipped townspeople of Kelly’s Falls is heartbroken and fearful. Twenty-three-year-old Shea recently completed another brutal assignment for the FBI that nearly killed her and is reluctant to take on another case, but the victims and their families deserve answers. Under the pretense of being the niece of the obstinate chief of police, Shea comes to know these people, finds friendship, and even begins to fall in love with the brother of one of the missing girls. As she nears the truth, danger hovers in unlikely places in this seemingly perfect little burg.
VERDICT While the conclusion is unnecessarily protracted, Redmond (A Cold Day in Hell), herself a retired cold-case homicide detective from Buffalo, demonstrates her experience and delivers a well-crafted, pulsating mystery with a sobering twist. Fans of small-town mysteries will enjoy.

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