Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
In Browning's well-crafted sequel to 2020's Shadow Ridge, Det. Jo Wyatt of the Echo Valley, Colo., PD looks into the disappearance of Lena Flores, an 11-year-old girl who went missing after attending the Echo Valley Fair with her older sister, Marisa. Jo, who has no actionable information to go on, believes Lena might have been kidnapped. On her short list of suspects are a carnival worker who noticed the two girls watching his game; Lena's father, Lucero, who's divorced from her mother; and a neighbor who's a sex offender. But the more she investigates, the more Jo finds herself digging through lies: Lucero about his alibi, Marissa about who she was with at the fair, and a paper delivery guy about knowing the occupants in Lena's mother's home. It takes a key interview, under highly unusual circumstances, for Jo to break the case. The action of this heart-wrenching story builds to a somewhat unbelievable twist, but the action-packed conclusion satisfies. Readers will feel like they're getting a glimpse into the real world of police work. Agent: Helen Breitwieser, Cornerstone Literary. (Oct.)
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Review by Kirkus Book Review
A young Colorado girl's disappearance raises agonizing questions for her estranged parents and for the detective spearheading the search for her. Lena Flores is only 11--too young to be in danger of seriously misbehaving but not too young to have decided when her parents divorced five years ago that she wanted to live with her father. Now, on a weekend she's supposed to be staying with her mother, ER nurse Tilda Marquet, she doesn't show up to her 4-H assignment at the local fair, and Tilda can't find her. Her ex-husband, veterinarian Lucero Flores, insists that he didn't pick her up, and Marisa Flores, the daughter who lives with Tilda, has been too busy juggling her high school romances and pursuing her dreams of being an entrepreneurial influencer to have seen what happened to her kid sister. Detective Jo Wyatt swings into action even though most of her superiors in the Echo Valley Police Department are convinced that the girl has just wandered off and will come back home when she's hungry. When it gradually becomes clear that Lena's vanishing is anything but routine, Jo, who's reluctant to accept the politically motivated promotion to sergeant she's been offered by incoming Chief William Prather, focuses on several obvious suspects. Aaron Tingler, a new deliveryman for the Valley Courier, has just come off probation for burglary. Peeping Tom Sebastian Vescent is a registered sex offender who broke parole to move into his aunt's house in the neighborhood. And Lucero himself has a history of violence. After sifting through these mostly uninspired candidates, Browning comes up with a solution that's as disturbing as it is surprising. A heartfelt procedural that isn't afraid to sweat the details. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.