A thriller that not only created complex characters, but the setting was a character within itself.
Cover photo taken in that abandoned house that use to be up by cultus, the one beside the abandoned gas pumps...but has since been torn down.
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Jack and Sarah Quinlan have been happily married for 20 years; they know each other inside and out. One morning, tragedy strikes, as Jack’s aunt is involved in an accident and hospitalized, forcing Jack and Sarah back to Penny Gate, Iowa; the place of Jack’s childhood. Haunted by memories of his parent’s death, Jack has avoided returning home until now. Once they arrive, Sarah realizes that maybe what she knew about her husband is not true at all. His parents were not in a car crash; his mother was murdered and his father was the key suspect. As Sarah begins to dive deeper and deeper for the truth, things begin to surface; things that Sarah is not prepared to hear; perhaps sometimes the truth is better off buried….
Missing Pieces, the newest mystery by Heather Gudenkauf, has been a book gracing my TBR shelf for quite some time. I was hooked immediately by the synopsis on the back. A woman lied to by her husband? Check. Dysfunctional family background? Check. Deadly truths and puzzling facts? Check, Check! This seemed like the exact type of book that would be up my alley.
The novel is told completely in the perspective of Sarah as she searches for answers. Once she arrives at her husband’s childhood stomping grounds, she immediately begins putting together inconstancies from things that he has said. In true small town fashion, she begins to hear the rumors about her husband’s past. This entire novel was sort of a slow burn for me. I didn’t find that it was an edge of your seat type of read. The pace and plot were quick enough to keep me reading but it was more of a slow climb than a roller coaster ride.
I didn’t find a lot of the novel believable; I found myself thinking to myself “how convenient” throughout my reading. For example, Sarah- a random person- convincing a woman who works at the police station to hand over confidential police files. Or the fact that Sarah never questioned Jack’s motives for not returning home during their twenty years of marriage.
I did find that the ending had a surprising twist. Gudenkauf threw enough red herrings into the plot to keep me on my toes.
Overall, this one was just okay for me. Nothing crazy. Nothing mind-blowing. If you are fairly new to the genre and would like something nice and light to get your feet wet, then I would recommend this read. However, if you want something completely complex, then I would probably skip this one.
This is a quick read about murder, betrayal &the consequences of keeping secrets from those you love.
Jack & Sarah have been married for 20 years & enjoy a comfortable life. When Jack’s Aunt Julia ends up in hospital, they go back to his home town for the first time in many years. Julia raised Jack & his sister Amy after their parents were killed in a car accident. Or so Sarah thinks. Turns out Jack has been keeping a few secrets.
The results of Julia’s injuries puts the family in a tailspin & causes Sarah to question everything she thought she knew. Then things get weird(er). Strange emails & run-ins with odd people lead Sarah to realize if she wants the truth, she’ll have to dig into Jack’s past & solve the mystery surrounding his parents’ death.
This is a light suspense story full of family drama. Sarah is the central character & we meet the rest of the cast through her. We also spend a lot of time in her head & it’s a busy place. One thing that struck me as odd is her relationship with Jack. Dialogue between them is very polite & superficial, making you wonder at times if they’ve actually been living under the same roof for 2 decades. As the story progresses & old secrets are exposed, more than once I found myself thinking really? this never came up in pillow talk or after a bottle of wine?
The small town setting is done well. It’s the type of place where everyone not only knows your business but your grandparents’ business, too. Several of the local residents add colour to the story & seem more fully realized than the 2 main characters. Things amp up for the last quarter as the suspense angle kicks in & you may be surprised when all is revealed.
All in all, an easy read that fits snugly onto my “ok” shelf.
I was really disappointed by this book... Gudenkauf's previous books have been so very good and this was one just okay for me... disappointing..
Extremely oddly paced and implausible psychological thriller. I really didn't like it but then again, I read the whole dang thing just so I could see who the culprit was!
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