Lara is baking cupcakes when her six-year-old daughter Ava runs to catch the school bus just one block away. Chasing after her, Lara sees the bus tumbling past, and waves. But Ava never turns up at school.
Detective Ellie Reeves is in arace against time to find her––in missing child cases, every second counts. Searching the small town of Crooked Creek, she finds the girl’s bunny in the local park, the toy Ava carried around everywhere. Did Ava ever get on the bus?
While Ellie works around the clock, a local reporter gets a message: There are other missing girls out there. Digging into previous cases, Ellie discovers that another girl went missing on the same day the previous year. How many more could there be?
Ellie is certain that the date means something––and that the person who sent the message is the key. But the community is up in arms, everyone worried that their daughter will be next, and blaming Ellie. The pressure is mounting, and time is running out to bring little Ava home. Can Ellie solve the toughest case of her career––and save Ava––before it’s too late?
So today I have been house sitting for my sister and looking after the cat and the dog. You would have thought I’d locked the dog in the basement and left him for dead the way he’s been walking around the house with his toy in his mouth and whining mournfully! He has in fact, been walked, had both breakfast and lunch, sunned himself in the garden, and been played with a lot.
I’ve faced the same problem today that I face when I’m at my parents: A GARDEN. I live in a flat now and while I love my flat dearly, there isn’t a lot of green nature around it, so unless I open the window to watch the pigeons nest in the tree directly outside, I don’t experience much of my hay fever symptoms. I have a theory that this has made those symptoms act worse when I’m anywhere else outside now. So, waking up with a hay fever tension headache wasn’t exactly what I wanted to a weekend off, but I have managed to survive through reading this book, drinking water, and having a nap.
I have to say that this book (book 5) really sealed me back into the story and the characters. With the last book I was feeling a little like there had been too many murders in Crooked Creek and the series was starting to feel a little unrealistic in the way that no victim seemed to survive. Then there was the triangle of confusing blossoming feelings between Ellie, Derrick, and Cord and it was enough to give me pause on the series.
This book follows the disappearance of a small child, and while that harks back to the plot of the first book, this follows a very different vein. Ava has gone missing and her mother Lara is distraught. This launches an investigation in the lead up to Christmas, a time where families should be celebrating not clutching their children in fear.
The last book saw Derrick setting up a taskforce to cover the small towns of Crooked Creek and others in and around Bluff County. Already having his character on the scene definitely promoted a sense of movement within the book, both with the plot and with the characters. The book had a calmness flowing through it that left me feeling at odds but I think that’s because – following from all the previous books – Ellie’s investigation is always at odds with her personal life, but here her personal life was sedated compared to the case she was working on. It actually made for a really good change and gave a chance of Ellie’s character to show what a great detective she was without drawing into her personal life trauma.
I cannot imagine what life must be like in these small towns of America. My only knowledge of them is through crime novels and crime dramas on television and I’m sure they are grossly exaggerated. Still, I guess in times of fear and trauma there will always be those people who will band together and help and those people who will slander and gossip.
Through the story of finding Ava, we learn of other missing girls and the plot starts to swirl together in a hurricane of information, research, and action. One of the things that made this book so worthwhile for me was that it had a small twisting side plot that actually came to conclusion before the final conclusion of the book and I enjoyed the way the dual narrative spearheaded advancements without taking away from the original plot.
I’m probably going to contradict myself here. I know in the past I’ve spoken of how refreshing it is to have the character of Ellie unattached to any male. And I know the dynamic between herself, Derrick, and Cord was something I was irritated with while reading book 4. I think at this point, a decision needs to be made for Ellie. Either set her up on the road to a romance or don’t.
I’m not a fan of ‘will they, won’t they’ in any capacity and when I find it in books I find it incredibly aggravating. For me personally, I’m more concerned with allowing Ellie and her birth mother to bond, allow her to heal with her adopted family and sort out some of the drama between herself and Bryce than I am interested in her being in a relationship.
However, if a relationship is where it’s headed, it just needs to happen. Then I can accept it and continue reading. It’s all personal opinion of course.
The next book in the series isn’t out yet, but I’ll be waiting on that to read.
When I get a hay fever tension headache, there isn’t really much I can do to counteract it because the nature outside isn’t just going to disappear. So, it really becomes a distraction game with whatever I can focus the majority of my mind on. I enjoyed reading this book more than I had anticipated. It seems to be pushing in a distinct way and hopefully I’ll continue to enjoy it when the next book is released.
I give this book: ✨✨✨✨✨