Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Review: Missing PIeces - Heather Gudenkauf

Title: Missing Pieces
Author: Heather  Gudenkauf (Author Website) (Facebook)
Genre: Literature/Fiction
Publisher:  MIRA (February 2, 2016)
Length:  288 pages


Sarah Quinlan's husband, Jack, has been haunted for decades by the untimely death of his mother when he was just a teenager, her body found in the cellar of their family farm, the circumstances a mystery. The case rocked the small farm town of Penny Gate, Iowa, where Jack was raised, and for years Jack avoided returning home. But when his beloved aunt Julia is in an accident, hospitalized in a coma, Jack and Sarah are forced to confront the past that they have long evaded.

Upon arriving in Penny Gate, Sarah and Jack are welcomed by the family Jack left behind all those years ago—barely a trace of the wounds that had once devastated them all. But as facts about Julia's accident begin to surface, Sarah realizes that nothing about the Quinlans is what it seems. Caught in a flurry of unanswered questions, Sarah dives deep into the puzzling rabbit hole of Jack's past. But the farther in she climbs, the harder it is for her to get out. And soon she is faced with a deadly truth she may not be prepared for.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  (from Author’s website)

Heather was born in Wagner, South Dakota, the youngest of six children. At one month of age, her family returned to the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota where her father was employed as a guidance counselor and her mother as a school nurse. At the age of three, her family moved to Iowa, where she grew up. Having been born with a profound unilateral hearing impairment (there were many evenings when Heather and her father made a trip to the bus barn to look around the school bus for her hearing aids that she often conveniently would forget on the seat beside her), Heather tended to use books as a retreat, would climb into the toy box that her father’s students from Rosebud made for the family with a pillow, blanket, and flashlight, close the lid, and escape the world around her. Heather became a voracious reader and the seed of becoming a writer was planted.

Heather Gudenkauf graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in elementary education, has spent her career working with students of all ages and continues to work in education as a Title I Reading Coordinator.

Heather lives in Iowa with her husband, three children, and a very spoiled German Shorthaired Pointer named Maxine.

MY REVIEW:   Sarah Quilan was an investigative reporter before her marriage and having her daughters.  She and her husband, Jack head to Penny Gate, Iowa after Jack's Aunt Julia fall down the steps.   Jack and his sister Amy were raised by their Aunt Julie and Uncle Hal after the death of their mother.  Jack hasn't been entirely honest with his wife about the circumstances of his parents' death, but that will all start unraveling once they are in Penny Gate.
The relationship between Sarah and Jack is strained due Jack's dishonestly.   Sarah puts her investigative skills to work to look into the death of Jack's mother as well as the death of Jack's Aunt Julie.  The characters are well developed and you get a good feel for them.  I was surprised though at how quickly Sarah began to question or distrust her husband. After that many years of marriage I would hope my trust of my spouse could not waiver so quickly.

I loved the quaintness of the small town described in the Missing Pieces by Heather Gudenkauf.  Because, of course someone would help you out and have you back because they used to babysit your husband, Jack.  

Dean and Celia, Jack's cousin and his wife are an interesting couple.   Throughout the book, you wonder about Dean and the relationship between him and Celia.  This is put to rest quickly in the conclusion of Missing Pieces.    

MY RATING: 4/5 - I was quickly sucked into Missing Pieces by Heather Gudenkauf, which is fraught with tension and suspense.  Heather  Gudenkauf is one of my favorite authors, so I knew I wouldn't be disappointed.   I love her descriptions of small town life.   Growing up in South Dakota myself, I can tell you she is right on with life in a small town. 

Gudenkauf never disappoints. Missing Pieces is a murder mystery/thriller, which had me guessing throughout.  When the final reveal came, that person wasn't even on my suspect list.  I read Missing Pieces by Heather Gudenkauf within 2 days.  The missing pieces are revealed at a nice pace that keeps you guessing and engaged in the story.  Well done once again, Heather Gudenkauf. 

My Rating Scale: 1 – didn’t like it; 2 – it was ok; 3 – liked it; 4 – really liked it; 5 – it was amazing

Missing Pieces by Heather Gudenkauf is available in book stores on February 2nd.

Missing Pieces by Heather Gudenkauf was also reviewed by Second Run Reviews, Jenn's Bookshelves, and Debbish dotcom 

Happy Reading!

**Disclosure – Missing Pieces by Heather Gudenkauf was received from reviewer program and MIRA in exchange for a fair review. All opinions are my own.

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