As a preface to this review, I have to say that I discovered Roger Stelljes and his work a few years ago, after receiving an ‘authors you may like’ email from Amazon. He, within the first few chapters of that first book, became a favorite author of mine, and his character in that series, Mac McRyan, could stand up any number of characters I enjoy reading – Lucas Davenport & Harry Bosch, for example. Imagine my surprise when I discovered him here on Netgalley – and with a new character to boot! To my delight, this new character, Tori Hunter, is also amazing, and I cannot wait to read more of her exploits. I feel like I say that about a lot of books I read, but I’ve just found so many fabulous writers here!
Twenty years ago, in Manchester Bay, MN, on the 4th of July, after a night of celebrating with high school friends, Victoria “Tori” Hunter’s twin sister Jessie disappeared, her car found empty on lonely stretch of road. Despite a lengthy investigation into her disappearance, no trace of her was ever found. Now, out of the blue, another woman has gone missing, on the same night, in eerily similar circumstances…
FBI Special Agent Tori Hunter has just finished a run around downtown Manhattan, when her doorman hands her a stack of mail. A specialist in child abductions with the Behavioral Analysis Unit, she lives and works in NY City. As her stack of mail falls, she finds and opens a handwritten envelope, only to find a news clipping of her sister’s disappearance, and a typed note telling her to check her hometown newspaper. Tori does so, immediately seeing the similarities to her sister’s disappearance, and swiftly makes plans to return to her childhood home.
As she attempts to insert herself into the investigation, she initially finds herself at odds with the chief detective, Will Braddock. Desperate to be accepted, she and Will discuss their differences and are able to form an uneasy alliance. As the investigation heats up, and they begin re-interviewing people from 20 years ago, Tori wonders what the killer has done for those intervening years, and slowly identifies a string of similar murders in various other states in the Midwest. Will tentatively identifies a suspect, who later turns up dead, by suicide. The town is ready to close the case, but Tori just isn’t so sure….
I cannot say enough about Mr. Stelljes, and his writing! He grabs your attention from the first page and keeps you turning pages well into the night, just to discover what happens next!! I thought I had the killer identified fairly early, but I was all wrong. Loaded with suspense, plot twists, a touch of romance and a strong, yet vulnerable protagonist, this book has everything you need to settle in for a long, satisfying read, and will leave you wanting more! I can’t wait to read more of Tori Hunter!
(I received this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review.)