First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Carrie Stuart Parks, and Thomas Nelson for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.
Always a fan of Carrie Stuart Parks, I was eager to get my hands on this novel. Drawing on some of her past life experiences (no pun intended), Parks brings the story to life in this mystery that evolves throughout the reading experience. Piper Boone has suffered a number of traumatising experiences in her life, including the loss of her daughter fifteen years ago. However, on her more recent radar is being involved in a shooting rampage with the gunman seems to have been approaching her. It was only the quick actions of a mystery man—eventually identified as Tucker Landry—that saved Piper from likely death. While she works with the locals on Curlew Island in South Carolina, Piper tries to track her protector down and offer some thanks. She also finds herself wrapped up in a mystery when her island neighbour appears to have gone missing without a trace. The Boone family have all come to the island for the annual shareholders meeting, which brings up some old wounds or at least ones that Piper has not addressed for some time. After meeting and befriending Tucker, Piper works with him to create a composite sketch of the shooter, which helps the police hone in on the man responsible. With secrets coming to light, Piper and Tucker begin to wonder if the whispers of a family curse could be somewhat valid and work to discover if there is anything to substantiate. While she has been sitting on much for a while, Piper finds the courage to address the loss of her daughter and seeks answers that have, until now, been dismissed as part of a horrible afternoon fifteen years ago. Slowly, things come together and Piper realises that the Boone family has more in their closets than well-pressed clothes. Someone has been trying to divert attention away from the truth and it might be Tucker’s insistence to turn over every rock that finally brings some answers, as painful as they could be. A strong piece that reminds me of some earlier work of Parks’ I read, this is one that will have readers talking for a while. Recommended to those who love a good family mystery, as well as the reader who enjoys novels where secrets prove to reveal much about the foundation of truth.
I remember stumbling upon the work of Carrie Stuart Parks because of her unique use of a forensic artist as protagonist, which opened things up and created a story I could not resist. While she has strayed from that—sometimes more effectively than others—this novel breathes new life into her work and left me quite pleased. Piper Boone may be meandering through life after the loss of her daughter, but she is by no means giving up. Her determination has left her eager to seek answers, even if it means stepping away from the protective canopy that her well-to-do Southern family has erected. She feels many emotions and puts herself out there, seeking basic answers and refuses to cower away as life passes her by. Parks uses her effectively to convey this and many other emotions throughout the piece. Resurrecting her forensic artist character in Tucker Landry, Parks brings back some new and exciting life to the story, as he, too, has a past that is not entirely filled with sunshine and lollipops. Tucker works through his own past and seeks to help others, including crack the mysteries surrounding the Boone family wide open, even when others would prefer they stay buried. The use of a handful of secondary characters permits Parks to develop a strong story with a few key plot lines that keep things exciting for the reader. The story flows well and keeps its momentum throughout, adding plot twists throughout to keep things from being too predictable. With a mix of chapter lengths, the reader finds themselves pulled into the middle of this South Carolina mystery and wanting more throughout. While this may be a standalone novel, I can see the potential for Tucker and Piper to return again, in some form or the other. Either way, this is one of the stronger novels that Parks has written and I hope others find things within that help them to see the same!
Kudos, Madam Parks, for a great piece that kept me guessing throughout. Your fans will surely appreciate this piece, as we wait to see what else you have in store in the next year or two!
A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons