Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: Charlie Parker #19
Publication Date: 2/8/21
Number of Pages: 308
** 3.5 Stars Rounded Up **
Charlie is alone at home and at work because her husband, Drake, is off fighting forest fires and her business partner, her older brother Ron, is on the first vacation he’s had in years. What does an enterprising CPA/detective do with herself while she has all of that aloneness? She gets busy and investigates not one, but two cases.
A teenager named Cassandra (Cassie) Blake entered Charlie’s office and asked to hire Charlie to find her missing mother, Jennifer Blake. Jennifer was reported missing over fifteen years ago and nobody has seen or heard from her since. Cassandra has been raised by her grandmother, Linda Arnold, who is now dying and Cassie wants to find Jennifer – or to learn what happened to her – before her grandmother passes away. Something about the young girl and her history pulls a chord in Charlie because of her own background and she agrees to help – as long as Linda is in agreement.
At the same time, Charlie’s Gram has a friend who is in her eighties but has taken up with a man in his forties. Once Charlie meets him, she is sure he is a charlatan only out for the older lady’s fortune. It seems they won’t be able to stop the marriage because the older lady, Iris, is totally enamored of Jeffrey Lougan and will not listen to anything her friends say. Iris won’t even agree to a prenup. Jeffrey seems very attentive to Iris, but when she starts feeling ill, her friends have to wonder.
Charlie has a time with her missing person case. It is as if Jennifer Blake just dropped off the face of the earth. Nobody remembers seeing her leave her home, but she was missing when Linda arrived to pick Cassie up for a doctor’s appointment. Cassie was in her playpen – all alone. The house was empty. Did Jennifer just walk away from it all? Did she run away with her ex-husband? Did something sinister happen to her because of something her druggie ex-husband did? Is Jennifer even still alive?
I liked the book, but it is not my favorite of the series. While the mystery is a good one, there is just no excitement in the story. It is a bit more like reading a rather dry newspaper account of something rather than actually living that moment in the story. Also, Drake didn’t even make a real appearance. I love those really exciting adventures where Charlie and Drake are tooling around together – in the helicopter or not – and all sorts of exciting things are happening. One other thing I’ll mention is that it keeps changing from one POV to another in the story. This didn’t bother me in the least and I thought it was a good device for telling the past story and the current story. However, I do know that switching POVs and timelines bother some folks, so I thought I’d just mention it.
This is a nice story, and I enjoyed the read, but it didn’t hold my interest enough for me to read it straight through. I honestly didn’t have any trouble putting it down to take a break.