February 2, 2016
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A woman uncovers earth-shattering secrets about her husband's family in this chilling page-turner from New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf
Sarah Quinlan's husband, Jack, has been haunted for decades by the untimely death of his mother when he was just a teenager, her body found in the cellar of their family farm, the circumstances a mystery. The case rocked the small farm town of Penny Gate, Iowa, where Jack was raised, and for years Jack avoided returning home. But when his beloved aunt Julia is in an accident, hospitalized in a coma, Jack and Sarah are forced to confront the past that they have long evaded.
Upon arriving in Penny Gate, Sarah and Jack are welcomed by the family Jack left behind all those years ago—barely a trace of the wounds that had once devastated them all. But as facts about Julia's accident begin to surface, Sarah realizes that nothing about the Quinlans is what it seems. Caught in a flurry of unanswered questions, Sarah dives deep into the puzzling rabbit hole of Jack's past. But the farther in she climbs, the harder it is for her to get out. And soon she is faced with a deadly truth she may not be prepared for.
I owe a very large thank you to whoever designed the cover (this one) of The Weight of Silence. It is, absolutely, because of the cover that I first picked that book up and first discovered Heather Gudenkauf. I have read The Weight of Silence, These Things Hidden, One Breath Away, Little Lies, Little Mercies and now Missing Pieces (reviews here) and greatly enjoyed them all.
Missing Pieces had a bit of a different feel - or perhaps tone? - than the previous novels but still has those interwoven, complicated, sometimes twisted relationships I loved in those books.
I really liked the darker, eerier family past and secrets paired with the pretty backdrop of rural Iowa and small town Penny's Gate. Starting the book with a scene featuring Lydia, Jack's mother really pulls you into the story. Not only due to what happens with her, but then when we begin Jack and Sarah's story and see that things may not be what they seem. We have a heard start on Sarah in knowing that she may not know the truth.
I thought that her journalistic background was a very smart means of introducing her desire to learn the truth, to investigate. It means we get now only a wife who wants to know about her husband, about the tragedy that occurred, but also a reporter wanting to get to the facts.
Some of the 'mystery' did feel a bit easy to guess at, at least on the surface, but any suspicions you have as a reader only add to the tension. Especially when Sarah is still questioning things and not wary of people you really think she ought to be. (I did not, however, understand her near immediate dislike of one character - at least not the level of it.)
How everything ultimately comes together and what the full truth is was definitely unexpected, even given some of what I had already deduced. I do think that Missing Pieces delves more into being a mystery/suspense/thriller novel than the author's earlier books but it really works. The characters and their relationships (past and present) still play a significant, important role.
Another book you may also enjoy: Notorious (Max Revere #1) by Allison Brennan
digital copy received from publisher, via NetGalley