- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: MIRA; Original edition (November 26, 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0778309223
- ISBN-13: 978-0778309222
Synopsis: Love may be blind, but obsession's a real killer. Nora Holliday is not that kind of woman. Not the kind who has an illicit affair with a married man. But Josh Landon is everything Nora's alcoholic husband isn't. And now she and Josh are so infatuated, they can't stay away from one another. Abby Landon, Josh's daughter, is home from college nursing a broken heart. She's seeking solace, not more scandal, so when she catches her dad kissing Nora, she vows to take the homewrecker down. And as for Abby's mother and Josh's wife, Gwen? To anyone on the outside looking in, the mother of two appears to be living the ideal suburban life. Until she winds up dead. The serene seaside town of Shoreham has always been the perfect place to raise a family--not somewhere housewives are brutally murdered. So who killed Gwen Landon, and how many twisted secrets will be exposed as the vindictive plot comes undone?
than the woman’s blood-covered body splayed facedown in the grass,
it could have been any typical upscale Floridian backyard.
was the ubiquitous pool with a water fountain feature, a patio
furnished with both a dining set and outdoor sectional couch, and an
enormous gas grill capable of cooking hamburgers by the dozen. A
large pergola with a tropical vine trained over it covered part of
the patio. The dining area was shaded by a black-and-white-striped
awning. It was the very picture of suburban domestic bliss. It could
have been the set for a commercial advertising anything from laundry
detergent to allergy medicine.
except for the dead body.
area had already been taped off. The first officers on the scene
appeared with an ambulance in response to a frantic 911 call placed
by the woman’s daughter. The paramedics had assessed the situation,
and quickly determined that the woman was dead. The fact that the
back of her head had been bashed in with what looked like a paving
stone, conveniently dropped next to her prone body, made it
immediately clear that it had not been a natural death. The
responding officers called the sheriff, who responded by sending in a
full investigative team. The medical examiner was now doing a
preliminary examination of the body, while police officers combed the
area for additional evidence. Two detectives, Mike Monroe and Gavin
Reddick—separated by twenty years and sixty pounds—were
overseeing the operation, standing at the edge of the patio under the
shade of the pergola. It was the third week in April, but this was
South Florida and the temperature had already climbed into the low
paving stone came from the stack out in the front yard. They were
delivered last week by the company who’s installing the driveway,”
Detective Reddick said. He was the younger of the two men and had a
wiry frame and angular face.
of convenience. Suggests it wasn’t premeditated,” Detective
Monroe said. He had a ruddy complexion and a full head of thick dark
hair, swept back off his face. A strand never moved out of place,
even in a strong wind.
he dropped the weapon, rather than taking it with him. Probably
be a she,” Monroe said mildly.
shrugged. “Blunt force trauma to the back of the head? You know the
stats. Overwhelming likelihood that it’s a man, and probably
someone the victim was intimately involved with. Husband, maybe a
husband was with the daughter when she called it in.”
mean he didn’t do it, and then had her place the call.”
family had been sequestered indoors, both to keep them out of the
way, and so that the officers waiting in the house with them could
observe anything they did or said. Other than the husband, there was
a daughter in her early twenties and a teenage son. The daughter was
reportedly distraught, while the husband and son had both been eerily
quiet. It was possible they were in shock.
we have an ID on the victim?” Reddick asked.
her house,” Monroe grunted.
but I like doing things the official way, you know? I’s dotted, t’s
crossed, all of that. Building a case, basic detective work.”
the chilling scene in front of them—the woman’s body still
sprawled on the grass, the back of her head a pulpy, bloody mess—the
corner of Monroe’s mouth quirked up in a half smile. “Sure, kid,
tell me all about basic detective work. I’ve only been doing this
for, what…thirty-two years now? The husband ID’d her. Victim is
Gwen Landon, age forty-nine. Married, mother of two. Husband said she
hasn’t had any recent conflict with anyone.”
than the person who caved in the back of her head with a paving
stone,” Reddick pointed out.
be the first time a husband didn’t know his wife as well as he
thought he did.”
But there’s another possibility, too.”
turned to look at his partner. His eyes were small and dark, and he
had a habit of squinting when he concentrated intently on something.
husband is a liar,” Reddick said.
Review: This story grabbed my attention from the prologue and held it all the way to the last sentence. Each character has his or her story to tell, full of twists and turns, all tying together to create a magnificent tale of love, betrayal, vengeance, and murder.
I was disappointed in the reveal of the murderer, though. Having that character do the deed just felt too convoluted to me. I was definitely expecting someone else to be responsible.
I would still recommend it to anyone who enjoys this genre.
Rating: Four stars
About the author
Margot Hunt is a critically acclaimed author of psychological
suspense. Her work has been praised by Publisher's Weekly,
Booklist and Kirkus Reviews.