A feisty protagonist with a dark past that’s not exactly a secret goes back to her roots in Kessler’s new series.
Audrey Harte has her dream job: she’s a criminal psychologist who landed a gig on a popular LA–based television show about homicides involving child perpetrators. But her mother’s birthday is coming up, and Audrey has been summoned back to her hometown of Edgeport, Maine—the place she’s been running from all of her adult life. Things start out as they typically do: Mom asks Audrey to pick up her drunk of a father on her way home. Dad is passed out in the local hot spot, which conveniently belongs to her ex-crush and resident town bad boy, Jake Tripp. But it’s not just Jake and her dad that Audrey finds there. She also finds Maggie Jones, the girl whose father she helped kill when she was a teenager. Maggie’s dad was sexually abusing his daughter when the two young teens murdered him to stop him from raping her. While Maggie went into psychiatric rehabilitation, Audrey was sent to a home for delinquent girls. Now, she finds herself confronting a drunk and out-of-control Maggie in the parking lot, and, after Maggie starts a fight, Audrey pushes her to the ground and drives off. Problem is, the next morning Maggie’s body is found on the beach, and the No. 1 suspect is none other than her old friend Audrey. Kessler’s style is breezy and compelling, but some of her reveals are less than startling. And for someone who is supposed to have a lot of insight into the way people think and act, Audrey is often very slow on the uptake. However, she’s a likable heroine, and between her moxie and sense of humor, she’ll soon become a favorite of those who like their suspense less dark and bleak.
Readers will have some of the major plot points figured out well in advance of the book’s climax, but Audrey is definitely a keeper.