Twenty years ago, four people robbed Welch’s, a local family owned store that rivaled the big box outlets. It was a major haul and the next day, one of the robbers was dead and his supposed accomplice had disappeared. Joe Maxwell was a widow who was down on his luck, struggling with alcohol and barely managing to provide for his two daughters. He was never found and it was just assumed he’d run away with the money, abandoning his family. Lisa Maxwell, the oldest daughter who was in college, took her younger sister, Arden who was only 10-years old, and fled to Houston. Now Arden has returned to the town and their former home, determined to restore the house and maybe find answers to what really happened the night her father disappeared.
The story begins with the immediate aftermath of the robbery but doesn’t identify the individuals by name. In the present day, we get some clarity about who planned the heist and some of the participants but exactly what happened is what unfolds slowly throughout. I went into this blind, which I highly recommend, so I never knew where the story would lead. Even Arden’s history is a mystery and her decision to seek out and hire Ledge Burnet, a local contractor, to restore the house feels predestined. Their instant attraction to each other is clear from the onset and is also a slow burn, adding more tension to the mix.
What makes the mystery work, at least for me, is getting the points of view from a host of involved characters who I wasn’t sure were always reliable in their recounts. Sifting the details required some work and I got completely immersed in the who, what and how of it all as they were always pretty murky. And, it became clear early on that Arden’s return to town stirred the proverbial hornet’s nest. I listened to the story and the narrator delivered a sultry and fine piece of storytelling. He made the slowly developed narrative seem natural and worth the wait, making my reading experience a pleasurable one. While I never really connected with Arden and Ledge’s romance, the mystery hooked me from the beginning and never let go. And, the ending delivered the excitement, twists and surprises I hoped it would.
- Release Date: August 25, 2020
- Narrator: Kyf Brewer
- Audio Length: 10 hours, 7 minutes
- Publisher: Hachette Audio