Harper. Aug. 2024. 256p. ISBN 9780063345300. pap. $18.99. M
DEBUT True-crime author Sands’s (Baby-Faced Butchers) first crime novel is a gritty buddy-cop mystery that pairs two unlikely individuals. When the mayor’s teenage daughter is abducted from a rural Florida town, it is all hands on deck for the local and surrounding police departments. A young forensics student from the nearby college, Maggie Moore, is also asked to help because of her acknowledged genius at forensic linguistics. Her analysis of texts and notes left by the abductor gives the police a leg up in tracking down the perpetrator. However, the case is deeply triggering for Maggie, reminding of her what happened to her childhood best friend, an assault by a professor, and her own insecurities. She teams up with detective Jackson, a man haunted by his own secrets, and soon the duo are chasing after an unlikely suspect with disturbing consequences.
VERDICT For readers who enjoy chilling mysteries and thrillers. Fans of strong character-building will delight in watching Maggie and Jackson’s partnership bring out their individual strengths. A somewhat open ending suggests that more installments are planned.
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