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Few circumstances are more frightening than the disappearance of a loved one. A mother never forgets the devastation felt when her three-year-old disappears during a momentary distraction at an amusement park. I’ve never forgotten a goodbye phone call from a friend placed from a faraway airport who escaped an abusive marriage by disappearing. Hearts go out to the family of a teenager who simply doesn’t return home one night. Two new fiction releases portray the search for missing family members. One a sister who seemingly walked away from her job without notice during the 1920s and the other a contemporary mother who is also a college coach who disappears with one of her players. Two outstanding authors give us very different stories of the search for a missing family member.
Hearts go out to the family of a teenager who simply doesn’t return home one night. Two new fiction releases portray the search for missing family members. One a sister who seemingly walked away from her job without notice during the 1920s and the other a contemporary mother who is also a college coach who disappears with one of her players. Two outstanding authors give us very different stories of the search for a missing family member.
THE SEARCH by Clair M. Poulson
A wise-cracking private investigator falls in love with his client in The Search by long time favorite author, Clair M. Poulson. Professional basketball player, Nadia Fairchild, walks into private investigator Jayden Spaulding’s office looking for help in finding her mother. Her mother is the coach of a nearby college’s women’s basketball team and she didn’t disappear alone. One of her players is missing too. As the two work together to unravel a maze of clues, they become increasingly close. The search turns deadly when they become aware they aren’t the only ones searching for the pair. As a level of conspiracy and murder unravel, they become convinced someone won’t hesitate to kill them to keep them from finding the missing women first, and the women they seek may already be dead.
Nadia is a great character that readers will fall in love with. Jayden is lovable, but annoying at times with his constant word play and jokes. They both are intelligent and determined. There is some confusion because of the similarity between the names “Nadia” and “Naylyn,” but overall the story moves at a rapid pace with a satisfying plot arc ending in a slightly rushed ending, including one critical event occurring off stage. Poulson is one of the best when it comes to creating a story that keeps the reader turning pages as quickly as possible. He doesn’t fail on that score with this story. He’s also highly adept at creating a background that is easy to visualize and realistic, but doesn’t intrude unnecessarily. The love story portion of the story is kept low key, but present throughout the book. Fans will love this one and new readers with a taste for suspenseful mysteries will too.
Clair M. Poulson has a life time of law enforcement experience behind him. He has served as an MP, a sheriff, a Justice Court judge, and on local, state, and federal law enforcement boards and committees. On the side, he has always been involved in ranching and he has an interest in a small town grocery store. He was born and raised in Duchesne, Utah. He has served in a wide range of positions in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints including bishop. He and his wife are the parents of five children.
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THE SEARCH by Clair M. Poulson, published by Covenant Communications, Inc., 240 pages, soft cover $16.99. Also available for eReaders and audio.
SEARCHING FOR IRENE by Marlene Bateman
Not many LDS novels are set in the 1920s, but Marlene Bateman takes readers to that era in her newest novel Searching for Irene. Anna Coughlin is unusual for that time period as she is a college graduate with a degree in finance. Convinced her sister didn’t just walk away from a job at a mansion in Virginia, she maneuvers to be hired by Irene’s former employer and keeps her connection to the missing woman a secret. Not everyone welcomes her to her new post. Her employer’s two sons and the housekeeper clearly don’t want her around. Neither does a neighbor woman who has set her sights on the older brother. She fares better with the younger brother’s wife, the maids, handyman, stable keeper, and the older widowed brother’s young son.
After days of diligent searching Anna discovers her sister’s badly decomposed body in a deep ravine, changing the case from one of a missing person to a homicide. As Anna searches for her sister’s killer she runs the risk of meeting the same fate as her sister. Also as she searches, she forges a closer relationship with members of the family, especially the older son, Tyler.
Anna is an intelligent woman, but she has always felt she was less pretty and less desirable in every way than her sister. She’s independent, compassionate, and loyal. Overall, she is a likable character readers will easily identify with. Her employer, Lawrence, is old, ill, cranky to the point of rudeness, yet caring and clearly in charge. His older son, Tyler is also rude, abrupt, often inconsiderate, and it’s difficult to see how he could be any woman’s romantic interest. The younger son is a selfish playboy. His wife is pleasant most of the time; other times she’s vacant and seems to live in la la land. The neighbor woman who has set her sights on Tyler is conniving, sneaky, and has something to hide. All in all, the characters are believable, fit their time period, yet are unique. The book is absorbing and will keep the reader turning pages. Even though I guessed the identity of the killer early in the novel, I still found the story an engrossing read.
Marlene Bateman was born in Salt Lake City. She is a graduate of the University of Utah. She and her husband live in North Salt Lake and she is the author of a growing number of both fiction and non-fiction books.
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SEARCHING FOR IRENE by Marlene Bateman, published by Covenant Communications, Inc., 268 pages, soft cover $15.99. Also available for eReaders.