What You Left Behind by Samantha Hayes (April 14, 2015, Crown Publishing) – I went on vacation a few weeks ago. It was the first trip I took in five years where I didn’t bring work with me. Just me, a stack of books, and no real plans on what I wanted to see.
I’m sure Lorraine Fisher had the same intentions when she went to visit her sister in the village of Radcote. But she’s the kind of person who once she sets her teeth into something, she can’t let go. The village was rocked by a spate of suicides almost two years ago, and shortly after Lorraine arrives for her visit, a second round seems to kick off. Two young men, both homeless and frequent visitors of the local shelter, appear to have killed themselves. Add in the strange behavior of her teenage nephew, Freddie, and Lorraine’s convinced something is very, very wrong.
What You Left Behind blurs the line separating the personal from the professional. Lorraine knows her nephew is into something bad, and she’s scared he may somehow be involved in the recent suicides. She’s smart and driven, almost to a fault, and while her lack of trust in the local police is understandable (the detective in charge of the two recent suicides is painted as a mean-spirited idiot) her tendency to take over when she’s not getting the answers she wants was off-putting at times. Hayes makes up for the faults in her characters with a multi-layered story. It’s more than a standard police procedural, and every time forward progress is made, another layer is pulled away, tying into the greater story with a skill and subtlety that kept me guessing. So often with mysteries I end up disappointed because the ending is predictable. Not so with this one. A great vacation read from a new-to-me author, and I’m looking forward to her next book.
Copy provided by the publisher