Unger (Fragile, 2010, etc) resurrects characters from a previous novel and continues their journeys in this latest angsty thriller.
Bethany Graves and her teenage daughter, Willow, moved to The Hollows from New York City when the bestselling novelist divorced Willow’s stepfather, a shallow, self-absorbed plastic surgeon. Thinking that the experience of small-town living might provide a cure for Willow’s recent penchant of lying about everything, Beth settles into writing another book. She also jumps back into the dating game with Willow’s high-school principal, Henry Ivy, a nice, nerdy sort of guy who has been nursing a secret for many years. But then, this is The Hollows, and everyone has some sort of secret in his past, including Jones Cooper, the retired cop resurrected from a previous novel. Jones has been doing odd jobs for the neighbors since he left from the force. Now, instead of chasing bad guys, he feeds the neighborhood cats and lets the repairman in while the neighbor’s at work. But soon a former colleague comes calling and wants his help with a cold case, and a young mother seeks him out to find the missing mom of a classmate of Willow’s. Before Jones knows it, he is back in the investigations business, but a local psychic warns him that she has seen a terrible vision involving him and, if her predictions hold true, this could be Jones’ last case ever. Unger introduces a dizzying number of characters who seem to have little, if anything, in common except for their location, but manages to tie them all neatly together. Although the outcome is not exactly a shocker since Unger sprinkles clues like breadcrumbs along the way, it’s a satisfying story with an eclectic and interesting cast of characters and believable dialogue. Unger shows her usual deftness at intricate plotting and explores the mother-child relationship from multiple angles, but too often refers to back story from a previous novel without explanation. That tendency often leaves readers wondering if they missed something along the way.Sure to be another hit with Unger fans.