Before She Was Found

Before She Was FoundBefore She Was Found by Heather Gudenkauf
Published by Park Row on April 16th 2019
Pages: 352
ISBN: 0778307735
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five-stars

It was supposed to be a sleepover Three twelve-year-old girls, Cora, Violet and Jordyn, were having a sleepover at Cora’s home. But then the trio decided to sneak out of Cora’s home at midnight to go to the abandoned rail-yard. It was supposed to be a fun adventure. It turned into a nightmare.

Cora is found on the tracks by a woman walking her dog. She is covered in blood and barely alive. Violet and Jordyn are nowhere to be found. Later Violet is found and taken to the hospital and treated for being in shock and Jordyn turns up at the home she shares with her grandparents. Violet is in shock and Jordyn is moody with her mood alternating from indifference, to fear, to defiance.

This book is told through text messages, journal entries, therapists notes and through the perspectives of various family members. As the book progresses, the reader learns more about the girls, their relationships with each other, one’s private thoughts and a school project about a local urban legend.

The police, family members, therapist and girls themselves try to piece things together, it appears that there is more to what happened at the rail-yard than meets the eye. I love how Gudenkauf provides little spinets and clues along the way. I had several theories which changed as new information was presented. I love books which have characters who aren’t always reliable – or the Author is able to make the reader question a character’s reliability. This was a fun one as the young girls did not describe the events the same way. I didn’t know who was telling the truth, who had something to hide, who was scared, and who had secrets. Plus, the girls were twelve years old, they had broken the rules and left Cora’s home. They knew they would be in trouble for sneak out if they were caught. So, as they shared information, I kept in mind their age and each’s desire to get into as little trouble as possible.

This was a very clever and well thought out book. I was fully invested in learning the truth. The Author created characters that the reader will care for, there are some we will question and some we may be wary of but each is interesting and compelling in his/her own way. I felt for the parents just as much as I felt for the girls.

Once I got to the ending, I went back to the beginning to read it. Let me just say, I did not see that coming! This book will not be released until 2019, so put it on your list and keep it on your radar. Fans of Gudenkauf will be delighted by this book. It’s another solid book which had me enthralled from the very beginning. Those who have not read Gudenkauf, what are you waiting for? This is a great book I was glued to the pages.

Highly Recommend!

Thank you to Park Row books and Edelweiss for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.

five-stars

Not a Sound

Not a SoundNot a Sound by Heather Gudenkauf
Published by Park Row Books on May 30th 2017
Pages: 352
ISBN: 0778319954
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three-half-stars

3.5 stars

Amelia Winn is a nurse who walked a patient to her car one night and they were tragically hit. Her patient died and Amelia suffered many injuries and was left deaf. She spirals into depression and alcoholism after the accident and her husband kicks her out of their home. Two years later she is unemployed, sober and has a service dog. Her soon to be ex-husband has given her a tip on a job with a friend of his.

Initially she misses her job interview when she finds the body of her friend, Gwen, floating in the river. Amelia had been out kayaking and is almost knocked out of her kayak as a boat sped away. On her way to her home she finds her friend’s body and calls 911. Thus begins an investigation led by her friend Jake. An investigation which she cannot seem to stay out of. She is determined to learn the identity of her friend’s killer.

She is given a second chance for the interview and is given the job as a file clerk. Happy to have something to do she accepts. With her nurses training, she begins to see things that are not right in the files she is helping with. Just what in the world is going on and why is she always at the root of the drama?

While she attempting to re-build her life, it appears that someone is trying to destroy hers. She is sober but comes home to find an open bottle of wine at her home. She knows someone has been in her home and that person is doing their best to make her look crazy or at the very least have a relapse.

Things happen fast in this book and it proved to be a very fast read. Amelia is deaf but she is not helpless. I like that the Author has written her as a strong character who fights back and does not back down. I like that she is working hard to get back on her feet and wont shy away from problems. With her service dog Stitch at her side she is ready to do battle with whatever or whoever comes her way.

This is a fast paced mystery/thriller that does not disappoint. As I mentioned the pace is fast and engaging. There are never any dull moments in the book. The plot is pretty straightforward with a few twists and turns. Nothing too dramatic – this book is more on the simple non-complex side. Not much thinking is needed for this book. This book is great to sit back and read for the pure entertainment factor. I did like that it was very straightforward but a little predictable. Nothing is overly graphic or gory so this book will appeal to most readers.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and Harlequin in exchange for an honest review.

three-half-stars

Missing Pieces

Missing PiecesMissing Pieces by Heather Gudenkauf
Published by MIRA on February 2nd 2016
Pages: 288
ISBN: 0778318656
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three-half-stars

How well do you know someone?

Sarah and Jack Quinlan receive news that Jack’s Aunt, Julia, has had an accident and is in the hospital. They fly to Jack’s hometown of Penny Gate, Iowa. A town that Jack has hardly ever visited during their 20 years of their marriage. There Sarah meets her husband’s family members – some are family whom she has never met.

During the course of their stay, it becomes clear that Julia’s accident was not an accident after all. All signs point to Jack’s troubled sister, Amy. Family secrets come to light. Sarah learns that Jack’s parents did not die in an accident as he told her. She learns that her husband’s Mother was murdered in their basement and his missing father is considered to be the main suspect. Could there be a connection between his Mother’s murder and his Aunt’s accident?

As family secrets, which are mainly Jack’s secrets, come to light, Sarah becomes painfully aware that her husband has not been honest about his past. She learns that he has been lying to her for years. There are a lot of “missing pieces” in his story. Unfortunately, the missing pieces are filled in by his family members and not her husband, which makes it harder for Sarah to trust her husband.

As Sarah tries to piece together clues and dig through evidence it is clear that someone wants to stop her. But who? And why? Why has her husband been lying all of these years? Who has been sending her eerie messages?

I enjoyed this book. For a couple that has been married for 20 years, Jack and Sarah did not feel like a long married couple. That’s about my only issue with the book. I did like having to put on my very own detective hat to figure out the mystery in this book. This is a modern day whodunit. I did guess the identity of the killer around half way through but I was wrong about the motive.

Overall a very enjoyable read. Good book for people who enjoy reading mysteries.

three-half-stars