First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Loreth Anne White, and Montclair Romance for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.
At a time when the thriller genre is supersaturated by authors who wish to peddle their wares, Loreth Anne White enters with a few unique qualities, one of which being the novel’s setting in rural Western Canada. Add to that, the slow development and eerie quality of her writing and the reader is in for a treat as they devour this, the second novel in her new series. The disappearance of two local teenagers two decades before has always been a cold case that nagged at Noah North, a retired cop. When he came upon some new information that may lead to a re-opening of the case, he wanted the world to know, including his daughter, Rebecca, who now resides in Ottawa. When Rebecca speaks to her father, he tells her, a little less than sober, that he knows she was not telling the truth those twenty years ago about what she and a friend were doing. Dismissing it, Rebecca returns to her life, only to receive a stunning call that her father’s committed suicide, shooting himself in the head with a shotgun. When Rebecca returns to her rural British Columbia community, she sees that much has changed and much remains the same. Trying her best to understand what’s happened, Rebecca is pulled into the middle of the case she thought everyone had forgotten, particularly when there is evidence that her father might have been drugged and therefore incapable of killing himself. Opening the old case file, Rebecca begins to piece a great deal together, including examining her friendships and relationships at the time. With the locals all coming to pay respects and opening a past she had compartmentalised, Rebecca North faces many harsh truths, while trying to see if the rumours of a pregnant teen girl fleeing to California still holds weight. With mounting evidence that someone is trying to silence a resurfacing of the case, Rebecca must race to get answers, if only to put her father’s death to rest. White stuns readers yet again with this great follow-up thriller that will please those who enjoyed the debut, and likely hook a new set of readers. Recommended for those who love a thriller that paces itself nicely and keeps the reader wondering.
I read the series debut quickly so that I could sink my teeth into this advance copy. Both proved to be stellar reads for me, my first experiences with Loreth Anne White’s work. The story was strong and developed without losing momentum, while the reader learned more about a new collection of characters from this remote community, while also getting updates on those from the debut. Rebecca North takes centre stage in this piece and keeps them reader enthralled with her development. In a novel that straddles two time periods, Rebecca’s backstory and character development occur almost simultaneously. A teen struggling to find herself, she fled for the other side of the country, only to be pulled back with her father’s death. The reader can see the great contrasts, as White uses her narrative to show both time periods. Other characters find their way onto the page and build both the present and 1998 narratives effectively, from teens to responsible adults who have made something with their lives. White plants wonderful characters of many flavours to add depth to the story and these people feed off one another so well. White uses a different technique here, with short chapters and interspersed flashbacks to a time that is then revealed in the present story. These quick chapters worked well and contrasted nicely with the debut novel, which sought to use longer chapters with smaller ‘perspective break’. The reader will surely enjoy the momentum gained by these brief story breaks that propel the larger narrative forward. Much is revealed and the reader will surely enjoy the underlying mystery that proves to entertain and educate in equal measure.
Kudos, Madam White, for another stellar novel. I am eager to see if you will build on this series, as you have a real fan in me. I hope others discover this series soon!
A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons