My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Denbe family seem to have the perfect life – as enviable marriage, a beautiful home, a successful business. But appearances can be deceiving and when the Denbes are abducted, insurance investigator Tessa Leoni will have to separate the lies from the truth if she is to find them before it is too late…
While this is book #2 in the Tessa Leoni series (a spin-off of the D.D. Warren series), the focus for most of the book is on the dissection of the Denbe family’s lives both prior to, during and following their abduction. Readers are privy to their most intimate moments via the 1st person account of Libby Denbe interspersed with the 3rd person narratives of the investigators, primarily Tessa and Sheriff Wyatt Foster, as they attempt to follow the clues to the family’s whereabouts.
The mystery itself is intriguing as the Denbes’ secrets are revealed one by one, and the facade of the perfect family slowly disintegrates. The suspects from amongst the victims’ supposedly loving relatives and friends pile up and their motives range from jealousy, greed, revenge and hatred. Although the revelation of the mastermind’s identity is not all that surprising, it is, nevertheless, disappointing as it results in a darker and more bitter ending without much hope in sight.
Tessa Leoni’s character development is, unfortunately, minimal although the hints at a romance with the sexy sheriff are promising and it is good to see her and her daughter recovering from their ordeal in the first installment Love You More.
Finally, although the mix of 1st and 3rd person takes some time getting used to, Elizabeth Rodger’s narration is immersive and heightens the intensity of the circumstances.
All in all, a gripping thriller and I look forward to reading more about Tessa in the future.