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The Secrets They Left Behind

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Three missing girls, no leads, a vault of dark secrets, and a case that's getting chillier by the minute, set the stage for this nail-biting procedural from former cold case homicide detective and acclaimed author Lissa Marie Redmond. Three college freshmen go missing from their rural hometown of Kelly's Falls while on Christmas break. Their cell phones, coats, and purses a Three missing girls, no leads, a vault of dark secrets, and a case that's getting chillier by the minute, set the stage for this nail-biting procedural from former cold case homicide detective and acclaimed author Lissa Marie Redmond. Three college freshmen go missing from their rural hometown of Kelly's Falls while on Christmas break. Their cell phones, coats, and purses are left behind, but the girls have disappeared without a trace. As the days turn into weeks and the investigation grows cold, twenty-three year old Buffalo police officer Shea O'Connor is called on to dig up leads undercover. Still bearing the emotional and physical scars of a previous case, O'Connor infiltrates as eighteen-year-old Shea Anderson, a college freshman and the "niece" of the town's police chief. As she begins to immerse herself in the missing girls' world, befriending their friends and family, and doing whatever it takes to maintain her cover, O'Connor realizes the track is far colder than she initially thought. But whoever was behind the girls' disappearance was only warming up, and they have set their crosshairs directly on her. The heat is on for O'Connor as she closes in on the shocking truth about what really happened the night the girls vanished.


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Three missing girls, no leads, a vault of dark secrets, and a case that's getting chillier by the minute, set the stage for this nail-biting procedural from former cold case homicide detective and acclaimed author Lissa Marie Redmond. Three college freshmen go missing from their rural hometown of Kelly's Falls while on Christmas break. Their cell phones, coats, and purses a Three missing girls, no leads, a vault of dark secrets, and a case that's getting chillier by the minute, set the stage for this nail-biting procedural from former cold case homicide detective and acclaimed author Lissa Marie Redmond. Three college freshmen go missing from their rural hometown of Kelly's Falls while on Christmas break. Their cell phones, coats, and purses are left behind, but the girls have disappeared without a trace. As the days turn into weeks and the investigation grows cold, twenty-three year old Buffalo police officer Shea O'Connor is called on to dig up leads undercover. Still bearing the emotional and physical scars of a previous case, O'Connor infiltrates as eighteen-year-old Shea Anderson, a college freshman and the "niece" of the town's police chief. As she begins to immerse herself in the missing girls' world, befriending their friends and family, and doing whatever it takes to maintain her cover, O'Connor realizes the track is far colder than she initially thought. But whoever was behind the girls' disappearance was only warming up, and they have set their crosshairs directly on her. The heat is on for O'Connor as she closes in on the shocking truth about what really happened the night the girls vanished.

30 review for The Secrets They Left Behind

  1. 4 out of 5

    Luvtoread

    Baffling Crime Mystery! Shea O'Connor is a twenty-three year old policewoman in Buffalo NY and looks like a teenager and that's why she has been chosen by the FBI to work undercover as a student in a small town where three college freshman girls vanished from one of their homes on Christmas vacation without any clues left behind. Shea's job is to become friends with any of the people who were close to the girls and find out some of the secrets these girls carried because someone knows something a Baffling Crime Mystery! Shea O'Connor is a twenty-three year old policewoman in Buffalo NY and looks like a teenager and that's why she has been chosen by the FBI to work undercover as a student in a small town where three college freshman girls vanished from one of their homes on Christmas vacation without any clues left behind. Shea's job is to become friends with any of the people who were close to the girls and find out some of the secrets these girls carried because someone knows something and they are hiding it very well. Shea's last undercover work for the FBI almost got her killed by a serial killer so she is very wary and tentative about how she gains the trust of the folks in Kelly's Falls while keeping herself safe from harm. I really enjoyed this book. The characters were all very interesting and believable as was the storyline and the writing was very good and captured the essence of small town life very well. The story was fast moving, interesting and suspenseful with a little romance thrown in and some terrific twists towards the end of the book. I definitely will look forward to reading more books written by "Lissa Marie Redmond" and I recommend this book to all mystery readers. I want to thank the publisher "Crooked Lane Books" and Netgalley for the opportunity of reading this marvelous crime mystery and any thoughts and opinions expressed are unbiased and mine alone! I have given this terrific book a rating of 4 Mysterious 🌟🌟🌟🌟 Stars!!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Katie B

    3.5 stars I'm pretty much always game for a mystery and I thought this one had an intriguing premise. This wasn't just an ordinary missing person case instead it involved three college age females. They are friends with each other and all 3 vanish without a trace on the same day. What's going on? So right away I was interested in finding out what happened and while I wouldn't say this ranks among my favorite mysteries, it still is a fairly decent one in the genre. Twenty-three year old Buffalo pol 3.5 stars I'm pretty much always game for a mystery and I thought this one had an intriguing premise. This wasn't just an ordinary missing person case instead it involved three college age females. They are friends with each other and all 3 vanish without a trace on the same day. What's going on? So right away I was interested in finding out what happened and while I wouldn't say this ranks among my favorite mysteries, it still is a fairly decent one in the genre. Twenty-three year old Buffalo police officer Shea O'Connor has worked with the FBI before in helping solve a high profile case. Given she can pass for an 18 year old, the FBI wants her to go undercover and pose as a college student in the town where the three women went missing. By infiltrating herself among the women's family and friends, Shea might be able to help crack the case. The pressure is on to find the truth. Shea was an interesting character but at times I thought she lacked a bit of maturity and was naive. However, I have now come around on my opinion of her and can appreciate she isn't a police officer that is wise beyond her years and can handle every situation perfectly. The author gave her a meaty backstory which you gradually learn about throughout the book. A few times I actually questioned if this was a second book in a series instead of a standalone novel. Definitely not unusual to throw in some character history into the present story, but there was just something about how it was inserted into this book that made me wonder if this was more of a recap and the previous FBI case was featured in an earlier book. I checked and this book doesn't appear to be a part of a series. In terms of the mystery for this book, I thought it was above average but didn't hit spectacular level. In my opinion the author didn't make it super obvious what had happened until the big reveal although maybe other readers will disagree. I'll admit I had a smirk on my face when my theory started to finally play out but it was quickly erased when I was proven wrong. The writing at the end is probably the weakest of the book and there is a scene that ventures into bad soap opera territory. But overall I did enjoy this book even though it wasn't perfect. If you are in the mood for a mindless but fairly entertaining read, consider checking this one out. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the opportunity to read an advance digital copy in exchange for an honest review!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kristy

    Shea O'Connor is twenty-three, working as a patrol officer in the City of Buffalo Police Department. She's gone undercover successfully before for the FBI and that's why she's called on again when three girls go missing in the small town of Kelly's Falls, New York. Three college freshmen have disappeared, leaving behind their phones and purses. As weeks turn into months without a lead, something needs to change. So the youthful-looking Shea is planted undercover as a transfer student at Harris C Shea O'Connor is twenty-three, working as a patrol officer in the City of Buffalo Police Department. She's gone undercover successfully before for the FBI and that's why she's called on again when three girls go missing in the small town of Kelly's Falls, New York. Three college freshmen have disappeared, leaving behind their phones and purses. As weeks turn into months without a lead, something needs to change. So the youthful-looking Shea is planted undercover as a transfer student at Harris Community College, arriving in town as the "niece" of the local police chief. But Shea quickly realizes Kelly's Falls is full of secrets and whomever is responsible for the girls' disappearance will do anything to keep those secrets hidden. "Three young girls, all college freshman, just disappeared. No clues. No traces. They just went to one girl's house after a party and vanished." At first I was disappointed this was not one of Redmond's excellent Cold Case novels featuring detective Lauren Riley, whom I love, but that disappointment was short lived. I quickly took to Shea O'Connor, a young but feisty and enjoyable officer who will stop at nothing to solve her case. We realize that Shea clearly had a close call with a serial killer the last time she was undercover and she's still recovering from those wounds. Our girl is hurting, but she's also focused--Shea will do anything to find those girls. Shea is in a tough spot. She's a young, female officer in a male-dominated profession, and she's often mistaken for a teen. However, her youthful appearance pays off undercover. But is the FBI using her? There's more than a simple mystery to solve here, as we must unravel if Shea can trust those around her. The central mystery itself, of the girls' disappearance, is engaging and fascinating. I had a fairly good inkling early on who might be involved, but it didn't stop my interest, and I flew through the book. There are, of course, plenty of dirty secrets in Kelly's Falls--as in most small towns--and Shea digs up plenty of them. There's also an interesting angle where she becomes close with one of the missing girl's brother. Shea excels at immersing herself in her undercover role, and it was fun to see her play the young, naive college student (with a knife hidden in her back pocket). The writing is a little simplistic at times, but overall this is a compelling thriller with an engaging protagonist. 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 here. I'd love to see another book featuring Shea. I received a copy of this novel from Netgalley and Crooked Lane Books in return for an unbiased review. Blog ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram ~ PaperBackSwap ~ Smashbomb

  4. 4 out of 5

    Marialyce

    2.5 stars I did like the story line of three missing college age students whose disappearance was to be investigated by an undercover student. Shea O' Connor, a twenty-three year old homicide detective is called into action. Shea herself suffering from the scars, both external and internal from her brush with a serial killer, is sent in as an eighteen year old student, pretending to be the niece of the current sheriff. She needs to infiltrate the small town, its people, and the girls who knew an 2.5 stars I did like the story line of three missing college age students whose disappearance was to be investigated by an undercover student. Shea O' Connor, a twenty-three year old homicide detective is called into action. Shea herself suffering from the scars, both external and internal from her brush with a serial killer, is sent in as an eighteen year old student, pretending to be the niece of the current sheriff. She needs to infiltrate the small town, its people, and the girls who knew and were friends with the missing girls. This is a cold case and there seems to be no leads to the missing girls. Can Shea be the catalyst as to their whereabouts and will her life also be in peril? I think the appeal in this story would be to a YA audience. It had all the makings of one, the handsome hulk love interest, and the girls attending college, drinking their way to oblivion, and other things that seem to happen on the campuses of today. It was a slow story that seem to unfold rather sluggishly, and there was the expected twists and turns. Thank you to Lisa Marie Redmond, Crooked Lane Books, and NetGalley for a copy of this book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Samantha Gonsalves

    I loved this book. Going by the other ratings & reviews I put off reading this, but I shouldn't have because I ended up loving it! This was a good refresher from the police procedurals I generally read. The book started with a chapter that left me a bit confused, nonetheless on proceeding it got suspenseful & exciting. The Secrets They Left Behind is a good suspense book. I liked the character of Shea O'Connor. The fact that the author is a former cold-case homicide detective made it feel all the I loved this book. Going by the other ratings & reviews I put off reading this, but I shouldn't have because I ended up loving it! This was a good refresher from the police procedurals I generally read. The book started with a chapter that left me a bit confused, nonetheless on proceeding it got suspenseful & exciting. The Secrets They Left Behind is a good suspense book. I liked the character of Shea O'Connor. The fact that the author is a former cold-case homicide detective made it feel all the more realistic to me. There was nail-biting suspense in almost every chapter & the tension was tangible towards the end of the book. The plot was also good & had a good number of twists that you won't see coming. Overall, I enjoyed reading this book & if this book is any indicator of the Lissa Marie Redmonds' writing skills, I am keen to read her other books! Thank You, NetGalley, Crooked Lane Books & Lissa Marie Redmond for an arc!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Thank you, NetGalley, Lissa Marie Redmond, and Crooked Lane Books for a copy of this book! The Secrets They Left Behind by Lissa Marie Redmond introduces Shea O’Conner, she is a young beat cop that just finished an intense undercover investigation that left her with P.T.S.D. The FBI contacts her about another undercover assignment. In a small town, three young women have vanished. It is up to her to help the local law enforcement by going undercover at the local junior college to find out everyth Thank you, NetGalley, Lissa Marie Redmond, and Crooked Lane Books for a copy of this book! The Secrets They Left Behind by Lissa Marie Redmond introduces Shea O’Conner, she is a young beat cop that just finished an intense undercover investigation that left her with P.T.S.D. The FBI contacts her about another undercover assignment. In a small town, three young women have vanished. It is up to her to help the local law enforcement by going undercover at the local junior college to find out everything from the missing girl’s friends. Their best friends definitely know more than they are letting on, the police chief is not being helpful, and the case is getting colder by the day. I could not put this book down. It is a quick and suspenseful read. The one thing I appreciated the most is that the book is just from Shea’s point-of-view. So many thrillers now contain multiple points-of-view and more times than not, it is unnecessary and causes the pace of the novel to slow down. With the focus on Shea, we get to know her and the suspense builds as she tries to solve this crime. Shea is a fantastic main character. She is young and works in a male-dominated work environment. She doesn’t feel she can measure up but goes through some terrific character development, which doesn’t happen in the straight line. Because she goes undercover with girls that are younger, she finds herself slipping into their habits. One of the best parts is that the ending was not predictable! I was shocked and loved the twist! The story is relatively short but I still enjoyed the story immensely! I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars. This book is available on April 7th!!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Farshana

    Earlier, when one reads a detective novel, there were parts in the story that kind of feels like 'suspension of disbelief' Like a simple thought, huh, does that really happen? But now-a days as the authors are going into such detail into their work that it doesn't feel like fiction at all. Lissa Marie Redmond has the added advantage that she's a retired cold-case detective with superb writing skills that her books have that innate quality of UNPUTDOWNABLE. Three girls have gone missing after a p Earlier, when one reads a detective novel, there were parts in the story that kind of feels like 'suspension of disbelief' Like a simple thought, huh, does that really happen? But now-a days as the authors are going into such detail into their work that it doesn't feel like fiction at all. Lissa Marie Redmond has the added advantage that she's a retired cold-case detective with superb writing skills that her books have that innate quality of UNPUTDOWNABLE. Three girls have gone missing after a party. Their phones have been left behind and no clues have been found. The Secrets They Left Behind has Shea Anderson as a detective who goes undercover into a college campus to find the truth of the missing girls. Shea is already suffering from trauma of a previous undercover operation that has her reeling from nightmares. But she agrees to help the FBI to capture the offender and provide some sort of answers to the family and friends. The story also gives us a glimpse of the effect of undercover operations on individuals, how much their psyche gets affected acting and playing and living a lie. It is these short glimpses of how much struggle and sacrifice goes into nabbing a murderer that makes this one a solid thriller. Many thanks to Lissa Marie Redmond, Crooked Lane Books and Net Galley for a chance to review this book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Wrenn

    Three college freshman girls vanish one night from their small country town of Kelly's Falls after attending a party. Leaving behind their cell phones, and no clues as to why they disappeared. Shea O'Connor is a twenty three year old Buffalo police officer. She had worked with the FBI previously to help catch a serial killer. Now they ask her to go undercover, posing as an eighteen year old student to gain access to family and friends. She gathers clues to find out what happened to the girls. Only t Three college freshman girls vanish one night from their small country town of Kelly's Falls after attending a party. Leaving behind their cell phones, and no clues as to why they disappeared. Shea O'Connor is a twenty three year old Buffalo police officer. She had worked with the FBI previously to help catch a serial killer. Now they ask her to go undercover, posing as an eighteen year old student to gain access to family and friends. She gathers clues to find out what happened to the girls. Only the local chief of police, Roy Bishop will know who she really is, posing as his niece as her cover. To complicate matters, Shea begins to have strong feelings for Nick, the brother of one of the missing girls. And it seems that someone might have caught on to who she really is. This was a captivating police procedural/thriller. The mystery was exciting and suspenseful, I didn't guess where this one was going! Shea was a great character. I would love to see this one turn into a series. Thank you Crooked Lane Books for the e-ARC via NetGalley.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ludwig Reads

    Upon coming across the title “The Secrets They Left Behind”, this book immediately felt like the perfect Fall read to me – a title I thought suited the the cover perfectly. The premise also sounds extremely original – a 23-year-old female undercover officer with a dark past (escaping a serial killer…) investigating three college freshman girls who vanished in a small town one night without a trace? How chilling does that sound! The Secrets They Left Behind is the perfect read to cozy up with unde Upon coming across the title “The Secrets They Left Behind”, this book immediately felt like the perfect Fall read to me – a title I thought suited the the cover perfectly. The premise also sounds extremely original – a 23-year-old female undercover officer with a dark past (escaping a serial killer…) investigating three college freshman girls who vanished in a small town one night without a trace? How chilling does that sound! The Secrets They Left Behind is the perfect read to cozy up with under the covers, with a cup of your preferred hot beverage, in this chilly weather. The “undercover” part, to be honest, was one of the things that I mostly enjoyed about the protagonist/police officer’s mission. It was refreshing that the author herself has complete knowledge about the “police procedural” field, considering she, herself, was a homicide detective in Buffalo – just like our main character. The culprit, however, I did not guess at all. Thankfully, my theories were wrong; I love being wrong about the perpetrator. I think this is a solid mystery that would appeal to fans of police-procedural mysteries, and I think the female police officer who stars in this story is one you will definitely want to meet!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Shalini

    A fun read was this book. Three lost girls and an undercover agent, the investigation rolled on. My first book by this author, the story moved swiftly. I liked how Shea did her investigation. She was brilliant in her role and I found myself hooked to the book. The twists were quite unexpected, I liked how the author knew where to insert them to keep the plot intriguing. The writing captured the chilling atmosphere, the subplots were certainly suspenseful. With a dash of romance and great dialogues A fun read was this book. Three lost girls and an undercover agent, the investigation rolled on. My first book by this author, the story moved swiftly. I liked how Shea did her investigation. She was brilliant in her role and I found myself hooked to the book. The twists were quite unexpected, I liked how the author knew where to insert them to keep the plot intriguing. The writing captured the chilling atmosphere, the subplots were certainly suspenseful. With a dash of romance and great dialogues, the story was wonderful to read. I enjoyed it. Quite a lot.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kristi

    “If I had known the best thing that was going to happen to me that day was a black eye, I would have called in sick.” -Shea O’Connor First sentence: Christmas Break - Skyler slammed the front door behind them as they rushed in against the biting winter wind. When three college girls disappear over Christmas break, Boston police officer, Shea O’Connor is asked by the FBI to go undercover and infiltrate the college. Purposely involving herself in the lives and friendships of the three missing girls “If I had known the best thing that was going to happen to me that day was a black eye, I would have called in sick.” -Shea O’Connor First sentence: Christmas Break - Skyler slammed the front door behind them as they rushed in against the biting winter wind. When three college girls disappear over Christmas break, Boston police officer, Shea O’Connor is asked by the FBI to go undercover and infiltrate the college. Purposely involving herself in the lives and friendships of the three missing girls, Shea struggles to keep up with her undercover persona and the lies she has to tell to people she’s beginning to like and see as friends. Shea is not a stranger to undercover work; she’s still suffering the trauma of the first case that FBI agent Bill Walters assigned her to. Nobody, including her fellow officers, know that Shea was the turning point in the arrest of a brutal serial killer in her first undercover case. Shea is a wonderful protagonist. She’s witty and clever with just enough snark to keep her interestingly likeable! The Secrets They Left Behind is great suspenseful mystery with a complex story-line and just enough red herrings to keep me guessing and ultimately, surprised at the ending. I’ll be reading Ms. Redmond past and future work from now on. Thank you to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for providing me with this title to read and review!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dana

    The disappearance of three girls. No clues. Time is ticking. The Secrets They Left Behind by Lissa Marie Redmond introduces us to Shea O’Connor, a Buffalo police officer who has nothing to lose and all to gain by solving this murder mystery. Sought out by the FBI due to her youthful appearance, Shea is asked to infiltrate the town of the missing threesome and befriend (or not) those closest to them. With all players on the board and every move significant, it is up to Shea to find out who is hiding s The disappearance of three girls. No clues. Time is ticking. The Secrets They Left Behind by Lissa Marie Redmond introduces us to Shea O’Connor, a Buffalo police officer who has nothing to lose and all to gain by solving this murder mystery. Sought out by the FBI due to her youthful appearance, Shea is asked to infiltrate the town of the missing threesome and befriend (or not) those closest to them. With all players on the board and every move significant, it is up to Shea to find out who is hiding secrets...and why? To say I loved this book is quite the understatement. ❤️ Mark your calendars: Release Date: April 7, 2020 Thank you NetGalley for the advance readers copy. Thank you Lissa Marie Redmond for a fantastic read!

  13. 4 out of 5

    ℳacarena

    ~This ARC has been gently provided in exchange for an honest review~ Shea O’Connor is a twenty-three-year-old Buffalo police officer who has worked undercover for the FBI to help them catch a serial killer called Terry Roberts. After the traumatic events of this assignment, she has been mainly doing paperwork and patrolling the streets of Buffalo until Bill Walters -the same FBI agent who asked her to work in the “Roberts case”- asks her to go undercover again. She is reluctant at first, because ~This ARC has been gently provided in exchange for an honest review~ Shea O’Connor is a twenty-three-year-old Buffalo police officer who has worked undercover for the FBI to help them catch a serial killer called Terry Roberts. After the traumatic events of this assignment, she has been mainly doing paperwork and patrolling the streets of Buffalo until Bill Walters -the same FBI agent who asked her to work in the “Roberts case”- asks her to go undercover again. She is reluctant at first, because of how things ended for her in the previous case, but then she accepts. She is now Shea Anderson, an orphan eighteen-year-old college student and the Kelly’s Falls chief’s niece. She is a freshman at the town’s Community College, so she can blend in with the rest of the students, especially the friends of the three missing girls. Skyler, Olivia, and Emma disappeared two months ago. The police and the people of Kelly’s Falls have been looking for them intensely, but without any results. There isn’t a simple trace of them. Although, they have left the only thing that can help Shea find them: their secrets. This is a very well-paced story, with interesting characters and a peaceful little town, or at least that’s how it looks like at first. Little by little, Shea realises that there are more secrets than she could have imagined. Definitely, a fast-read novel that keeps you interested all the time.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Denice Langley

    While a cold case mystery/thriller about 3 missing college girls may not be an original story line, Lissa Marie Redmond has given her characters some unusual twists that add dimension and interest as our young policewoman works undercover to find fresh clues for the young women's disappearance. The story actually centers around the policewoman and her efforts to fit in while gathering information. She must decide where to draw the line as her investigation takes her closer to their class mates a While a cold case mystery/thriller about 3 missing college girls may not be an original story line, Lissa Marie Redmond has given her characters some unusual twists that add dimension and interest as our young policewoman works undercover to find fresh clues for the young women's disappearance. The story actually centers around the policewoman and her efforts to fit in while gathering information. She must decide where to draw the line as her investigation takes her closer to their class mates and families. How far is too far? The book actually has a mix of genres that I found kept my attention as it added to the overall tone of the book. The ending is a surprise and enough story is left open that it feels like there will be another book. Let's hope so.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alexa

    3.5 stars. A straightforward suspense novel that will appeal to fans of procedurals/undercover tropes/small town secrets. Might have crossover appeal to YA fans, as the MC is 23 pretending to be 18, and the missing girls are 18/freshmen in college. That said, some of the young adult characters read as a bit older than they are supposed to be at times. I'm a bit mixed on this one, though I did enjoy my reading experience. It hits on tropes I really enjoy, including small town secrets and secret id 3.5 stars. A straightforward suspense novel that will appeal to fans of procedurals/undercover tropes/small town secrets. Might have crossover appeal to YA fans, as the MC is 23 pretending to be 18, and the missing girls are 18/freshmen in college. That said, some of the young adult characters read as a bit older than they are supposed to be at times. I'm a bit mixed on this one, though I did enjoy my reading experience. It hits on tropes I really enjoy, including small town secrets and secret identity. I liked the set-up a lot--a 23-year-old, baby faced police officer is recruited by the FBI to go undercover as an 18-year-old community college freshman in order to find out what happened to 3 missing girls in a small town. The set-up was strong, with some issues on execution that kept me from this being an unequivocal 4 or 5 star read. Many sections rely heavily on narration/summary/time skipping/telling rather than dramatization/showing, and thus I felt some distance from the plot and particularly the characters. Ultimately that was I think the thing for me: distance from characters/many of them feeling like walking tropes/not the right age. Shea the 23-year-old doesn't really feel realistically 23 NOR 18--she feels like a much older character for many reasons. She's a little too polished in places, including her almost motherly dedication to "finding those girls"--those girls would be a peer to a 23-year-old, even if she's a cop (I personally didn't start to feel motherly/mentorly toward teens until I was closer to 30). There's a bit of teenage girl soup: we have 3 missing girls who are only on the page in a 1 chapter prologue, 3 teen girls who were also friends with THOSE teen girls, whom the MC befriends, plus mean girl & friend, and then a small collection of tropey teen boys. Most of these characters weren't distinct enough to grasp onto or remember. In the original trio, Emma in particular is under characterized, and in the "present" trio the only difference between Jenna and the M one whose name I can't remember is the latter likes Nick. Can't tell you much else about them. So it's a tricky balance between enough young people to feel realistically like college and too many who are under-developed. They party and drink like young people but otherwise I felt a layer of separation from the narrative. I liked Shea herself a lot. Other than the aforementioned small issue with her feeling too mature at times, she was compelling enough and easy to follow. Her backstory was really interesting--I would have loved more flashbacks! Really more about Shea as a cop and young woman would have been welcome. I cared for her a lot less within the context of the romance, partly because I didn't like the romance. And the romance accounted for a solid 50% of this book. It comes down to my personal taste, though what bothered me will likely bug others. This book has some very regressive gender roles/romance tropes that aren't adequately challenged, as I expected them to be by Shea specifically. Don't give me a tough-as-nails woman cop born in the 90s, coming of age in 2019, and NOT pushing back against patriarchal/misogynist bullshit. Nick is a jealous, possessive alpha male type... but only once or twice; the rest of the time as it suits the narrative he's a Sweet Awesome Teddy Bear! But those few times he's RIDICULOUSLY jealous and possessive, it's not challenged at all, and Shea in fact BEGS FOR HIS FORGIVENESS!!! I was just. Turned off. One big aggressive jealous scene and it ruined the character for me, and ruined the romance. Hugely disappointing. And Nick, of course, is contrasted against the Garbage Bad Boy Who Sexually Assaults Shea And Nick Gets Jealous About It. Like seriously: she's ASSAULTED and Nick loses his shit and Shea doesn't even defend herself or call him a dick?! Also Nick, a 21-year-old in the year 2019, also says his mom would "have a cow," so that made me do a double take. Has anyone said that since the 90s? Deep breaths. I'm afraid I also had one other major issue, which is 100% a spoiler. So (view spoiler)[: I guessed that Roy was the baddie literally from his first scene. Eligible bachelor cop who is instantly against Shea being there? 100% obviously was screwing at least one of the 18-year-olds and murdered all three. I might have doubted it for a microsecond were it not for the way he's characterized, which was as a hot & cold blowing crazy person? He's super uneven as a character in that he serves whatever need the author had for him in a given moment (not even just scene!) with Shea, so they oscillate wildly from "almost getting along/joking with each other!" to PSYCHO CRAZY ASSHOLE DUDE literally in the space of a single scene, and back again. It takes a deft hand to write a sociopath, who volleys between charm and slips of temper, and it's not happening here. Roy is the #1 thing that lets down the book--I just wish every scene between him and Shea had been worked over one more time to add more transitions in their conversations so the jumps between "kind of getting along" and "AGGRESSIVELY AGGRESSIVE" were more seamless. To that end, yes, Shea does seem monumentally stupid for never suspecting him. He never even attempted to charm her? (hide spoiler)] I don't mean to rag on the book! It was still a solid reading experience: I wanted to return to the book each evening, because I really enjoy small town secrets, and the set up of the undercover cop. There were a few very juicy entanglements, and even though I guessed the ending, the journey was still enjoyable. I just sincerely wish I cared about the romance and about more of the characters.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alix

    I’m probably being a little generous here because it’s not like this was an amazing novel, but nevertheless I loved it. It has some of my favorite things such as a cop going undercover at a school and a murder mystery taking place in a small town filled with secrets. Plus there was an illicit romance which I enjoyed as well. Even though some may roll their eyes and find it cliche, I dug the thrill and drama of it. In terms of the mystery, this book actually pulled the wool over my eyes! I was at I’m probably being a little generous here because it’s not like this was an amazing novel, but nevertheless I loved it. It has some of my favorite things such as a cop going undercover at a school and a murder mystery taking place in a small town filled with secrets. Plus there was an illicit romance which I enjoyed as well. Even though some may roll their eyes and find it cliche, I dug the thrill and drama of it. In terms of the mystery, this book actually pulled the wool over my eyes! I was at first shocked by the reveal of the murderer, but it all made sense. I was dumb for not realizing it from the start. But the author had some clever misdirection in there and I was so convinced that it was this one character, that I didn’t think it could be someone else. Overall I loved this book and was entertained throughout. This hits all of my favorite tropes but it may not be everyone’s cup of tea.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Gennifer

    While this story is formulaic and not very original, I couldn’t stop reading. The writing is so fluid and the story really appealed to my inner college girl. A small town, an undercover cop, teen angst, a love story and good writing...I mean really what more could you want?

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    Shea O’Connor is a young officer at the Buffalo Police Department who lives with her roommate Karen who is a trauma nurse at Erie County Medical Center. They met at the University of Buffalo. Although she’s 23 years old, Shea finds she is often not taken seriously as she appears much younger than her age. This actually worked to her advantage when she was asked to work undercover for Bill Walters in the FBI. She worked undercover to assist with the capture of a teacher Terry Roberts who was a se Shea O’Connor is a young officer at the Buffalo Police Department who lives with her roommate Karen who is a trauma nurse at Erie County Medical Center. They met at the University of Buffalo. Although she’s 23 years old, Shea finds she is often not taken seriously as she appears much younger than her age. This actually worked to her advantage when she was asked to work undercover for Bill Walters in the FBI. She worked undercover to assist with the capture of a teacher Terry Roberts who was a serial killer. Just as Shea is slowly recovering from the personal trauma of that undercover case where she almost died, she receives a phone call from Bill Walters. Because Shea feels under appreciated at the Buffalo Police Department, she accepts another secret undercover FBI assignment. Again, she need to pose as a freshman at Harris Community College in Kelly’s Falls, NY as 18 year old, Shea Anderson. Bill Walters has a cover story arranged with the chief of police, Roy Bishop. Shea transitions into Theresa Parker’s boarding house posing as the chief of police’s niece who parent recently died in a car crash. She begins to befriend the other borders at the house and settles into her school routine. Her assignment is to uncover the mystery surrounding three missing college students last seen at a party. Shea is eager to emerge herself into the school’s social scene to learn what happened the night the girls went missing. While Shea is strategically meeting key friends she is introduced to further people who knew the missing girls. Shea isn’t prepared for these relationships to become close and intimate. She earns the trust of Kayla Johnson who is the cousin to Nick and Olivia Stansfield. Olivia is one of the missing girls whose brother Nick, a senior at RIT in Rochester will stop at nothing to find his sister. Soon, Shea is engaged in typical college life which seems to annoy Chief Bishop who resents her involvement in this cold case. Over time Shea is hanging out at Freddie’s Pizza with Rob, Tyler, Maddie and Jenna and going to parties. Things become tense when Shea becomes involved with Nick Stansfield who starts to develop feelings for her. As much as Shea tries to maintain her professional ethics undercover she can’t help but acknowledge her own growing feelings towards Nick. As much as she feels guilty, Shea continues a relationship with Nick to gain access to people who know more than they want to admit about the missing girls. Along the way she attracts unwanted attention from Joe Styles who is a local with a reputation for trouble and a girlfriend, Amber Wray who loves to fight. Just as Shea becomes close to solving the cold case, things explode and she finds herself fearing for her life once again.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Janice Lombardo

    A great story! Three college freshmen girls have disappeared. Local police have been unable to even find a clue, much less a lead, on the incident. The girl's purses, cell phones, and coats were found - yet not so much as a drop of blood left as to their whereabouts. Now it is 2 months later... Having done work with the FBI prior to this, Shea O'Connor, a policewoman from Buffalo, NY has been summoned. This, once again, by Bill with the FBI. Shea is 23 years old but can pass for a college freshma A great story! Three college freshmen girls have disappeared. Local police have been unable to even find a clue, much less a lead, on the incident. The girl's purses, cell phones, and coats were found - yet not so much as a drop of blood left as to their whereabouts. Now it is 2 months later... Having done work with the FBI prior to this, Shea O'Connor, a policewoman from Buffalo, NY has been summoned. This, once again, by Bill with the FBI. Shea is 23 years old but can pass for a college freshman. She goes undercover in the small town of Kelly's Falls, NY. There, Shea must mix in with the community college crowd completely yet be completely undercover. Her only back-up there is the Chief of Police - Roy Bishop. She plays his niece who had to move there after her parents died in a car accident. Roy and Shea have opposite poles of thought about her undercover procedures. Nick, brother of one of the missing girls, mesmerizes Shea. They date. Whereas, Joe - their town dropout druggie - was a sure thing to be implicated for the 3 girls disappearance has a tight alibi. Still - he has the hots for Shea. His girlfriend, Amber, who is very jealous comes into question..... And then the fun begins! A twisty story about undercover work in a small town. Very Suspenseful. A delight to read! Many Thanks to Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley for a great read!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    Shea O’Conner, a police officer who has helped the FBI before as an undercover officer, is called in on another case. She looks very young and can easily pass as a co-ed. Three female college students from a small town disappeared one night and the case has grown cold. So Shea is sent to be a student at the local Community College and become friend with the crowd those girls were part of. As she pursues the case it gets curiouser and curiouser. I loved this book and highly recommend it. I have vo Shea O’Conner, a police officer who has helped the FBI before as an undercover officer, is called in on another case. She looks very young and can easily pass as a co-ed. Three female college students from a small town disappeared one night and the case has grown cold. So Shea is sent to be a student at the local Community College and become friend with the crowd those girls were part of. As she pursues the case it gets curiouser and curiouser. I loved this book and highly recommend it. I have voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from NetGalley. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Carty Lepri

    I have reviewed this book for the New York Journal of Books where it will be posted on the site the evening before the publication date. "The Secrets They Left Behind" by Lissa Marie Redmond Crooked Land Books April 7, 2020 10-164385299X Mystery/Suspense 304 pages Shea O'Connor, a twenty-three-year-old Buffalo cop is given an assignment with the FBI to pose as a student in the small town of Kelly's Falls, New York. Three young women have gone missing, and what better way to find out information than t I have reviewed this book for the New York Journal of Books where it will be posted on the site the evening before the publication date. "The Secrets They Left Behind" by Lissa Marie Redmond Crooked Land Books April 7, 2020 10-164385299X Mystery/Suspense 304 pages Shea O'Connor, a twenty-three-year-old Buffalo cop is given an assignment with the FBI to pose as a student in the small town of Kelly's Falls, New York. Three young women have gone missing, and what better way to find out information than to go undercover and attend the small community college with the friends of those who are missing. FBI Agent, Bill Walters summons Shea to his office. She worked with him on a previous case; one still tormenting her with nightmares. He fills her in on what he's now working on: "'He leaned back in his chair, the same wistful smile on his face. 'You know me, Shea. I'm not one to beat around the bush, so I'm going to get right to the point here. I've got an interesting case on my hands, and I thought maybe you could help with it.' "'I didn't know you had an active case in the city again.' A chill ran up my spine. They had lots of cases in the city, but Bill was interested only in the worst ones. "'I don't. This is something special. I've never seen anything quite like it. Not in twenty-five years on the job. I must admit, I'm stumped, and you know how I hate to be stumped.' "'I don't understand. If it's not in the city, how can I help you? It's not my jurisdiction. The Bureau can't just step in and take over a local investigation.' "'You know the Buffalo branch covers counties all the way to the Pennsylvania border.' "I could feel my forehead creasing in concern the more he talked. 'What does this have to do with me?' "'It's a town called Kelly's Falls.' He went on as if I hadn't even spoken. 'It's right on the state border with Pennsylvania. Three young girls, all college freshman, just disappeared. No clues. No traces. They went to one girl's house after a party and vanished. Their purses were left, their jackets, their cell phones. The TV was on. There was no sign of a struggle; they were just gone.'" Shea is ambivalent about working another job with Bill after their past assignment which almost cost Shea her life. He gives her papers to peruse about the situation stating, "'I want you to go in practically blind. No preconceived notions. I want to see what you can come up with on your own. Most of this [information] you could get on the Internet.'" "'No backup. No surveillance. You're throwing me in without a net. Again.' "'I wouldn't ask you to do this if I didn't think you'd be safe. But there's always an inherent risk when you're trying to track a killer.' "'I thought you said they were missing.' "'No bodies. It's been ruled a kidnapping due to the insistence of the parents and the circumstances of the disappearance. Is it a kidnapping? Human trafficking? A triple homicide? Who knows at this point? The county attorney approached the FBI for assistance because the local authorities and state police have come up with absolutely zero. I don't think these girls up and ran away. Once you read the file, I'm convinced you'll agree with me.'" Shea intrigued yet dubious, takes the assignment where she acts as a transfer student. It is now March 18th, and her reason for transferring mid-season is because of her "uncle" Roy, the local police chief suggested she relocate after her parent's alleged fatal automobile accident. Using the last name of Anderson, she rents a room in a boarding house near Roy's home. Though she's five years older, she easily passes as an eighteen-year-old coed and blends in with the others. Only Roy and Bill are aware of her true identity. Quickly Shea is befriended by Kayla, Maddie and Jenna, also students and friends to Skyler, Olivia, and Emma, the three missing girls who were last seen together on December 28th. As Shea becomes close to the friends, she realizes she must play the part of an innocent newcomer who is unaware of the disappearance of the others. She keeps in constant contact with Bill as well as Roy, though she and the chief do not hit it. He doubts she can offer any help and is concerned she is getting too engaged with the young students. Her newfound friends are excited to be close to a "big-city gal" and want to learn about her life in Buffalo as she innocently tries to wean information out of them about the others. Where are they? Did they run away? But without a trace and taking nothing with them? Who is responsible? Could it be Joe Styles, the campus "bad boy" or someone he associates with? Is his intensely jealous girlfriend, Amber involved? Joe is known as a player, and Amber shows her hatred of Shea whenever he talks to her. Had he come on to one of the three and incurred Amber's wrath? When Shea meets Nick, brother to Olivia, one of the missing girls, she is instantly attracted to him even though he is younger. What difference does it make when he thinks she's eighteen; and that she won't be in town long. They become close before long and as small towns are, there is gossip. Roy is incensed believing she is not fulfilling her duties and making him look bad as her alleged uncle. But Nick is grief-stricken about his sister and finds comfort in Shea considering they both are sharing losses. During her time investigating, Shea is lonely and misses her roommate and her home in the city as well as feeling stymied by her current assignment. Is this case too cold? She somehow senses Kayla is withholding something about the night the girls vanished than she's letting on, and there must be some way she can talk to Kayla without arousing suspicion. Too many suspects come to mind, but when the actual perpetrator is discovered, everyone is surprised. This tense, fast-paced thriller has the reader believing they can pinpoint the offender before the novel is half-read, however, the surprising culprit is unexpected as well as the ending which is sure to incite a chuckle. This author recognizes exactly how to capture her audience and keep them riveted with the many twists and turns and subplots included in the narrative. The characters are well-defined, especially dealing with present-day teenagers and the crime theories and scenarios are spot on.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sue Plant

    would like to thank netgalley and the publisher for letting me read this gripping novel 3 young girls mysteriously disappear one night at the site of the abuction the tv and music are still playing, but nobody knows where they are or if they are still alive... shea o'connor goes undercover as shea anderson the police chief niece.... can she work her magic again or will it all end with no answers as shea gets closer to answers her relationship with the chief of police becomes fraught and so does her f would like to thank netgalley and the publisher for letting me read this gripping novel 3 young girls mysteriously disappear one night at the site of the abuction the tv and music are still playing, but nobody knows where they are or if they are still alive... shea o'connor goes undercover as shea anderson the police chief niece.... can she work her magic again or will it all end with no answers as shea gets closer to answers her relationship with the chief of police becomes fraught and so does her feelings for one of the brothers of missing girls.... wow this story had me hooked and couldnt put it down at all...the flow of the storyline and all the characters of the book were brilliantly thought out and its worked so well, brilliant ending love how this authors writes, cant wait for the next book from this author

  23. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    Twenty-three year old Shea O'Connor is an officer for the city of Buffalo, New York police force. Her youthful looks can be a disadvantage on the job, but allowed her to go undercover and help the FBI catch a dangerous serial killer who was working at a school. They are calling on Shea's help again when three college freshman from a nearby town disappear on their Christmas break. Shea goes undercover at the local community college to try to solve the mystery of what happened to the missing girls Twenty-three year old Shea O'Connor is an officer for the city of Buffalo, New York police force. Her youthful looks can be a disadvantage on the job, but allowed her to go undercover and help the FBI catch a dangerous serial killer who was working at a school. They are calling on Shea's help again when three college freshman from a nearby town disappear on their Christmas break. Shea goes undercover at the local community college to try to solve the mystery of what happened to the missing girls and to discover if other young woman in the town of Kelly's Falls are in danger. This book is either a standalone or the first in a series written by a retired Buffalo New York police officer. It sometimes reads like the second in a series with the frequent referrals to Shea's prior case. However, the flashbacks from the past case show the trauma she went through, but there isn't a previous book. The book has several elements of a procedural, but is more tense and suspenseful with the added element of Shea working undercover. Shea has to strike a balance between gaining the trust of the other students and getting the needed information for the case. I like that she feels uncomfortable making friends knowing she can't be fully honest about who she is. I've always thought that would be just one of the hard parts about working undercover and I am glad to see the author makes that an important part of the book. I like Shea and although she sometimes acts impulsively, it's her instincts that make her so good at her job. She found a lot of clues as to what could have happened to the girls and although they didn't all pan out, she was determined to get to the truth and didn't give up. I thought I had guessed the solution and it wasn't until right before a dramatic scene involving Shea and someone very dangerous that things clicked into place for me. The solution was more shocking than I had expected and I loved the ending of the book. As someone who likes many different types of mystery novels, I really enjoyed the book. I also think it would appeal to fans of New Adult fiction since so many of the main characters are college students. I would give the book 4.5 stars and will look out for this author in the future. I received this book from NetGalley through the courtesy of Crooked Lane. The book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Angela - findmebehindabook

    The Secrets They Left Behind was outstanding. I was on the edge of my seat from the very beginning and had a hard time putting it down. The first thing to draw me into this book was the title. The blurb was the final deciding factor as to wanting to read this book. I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC of this book provided via netgalley by Crooked Lane Books, in exchange for my honest review. One of my favorite thing about mystery stories is being able to try and solve the mystery before fin The Secrets They Left Behind was outstanding. I was on the edge of my seat from the very beginning and had a hard time putting it down. The first thing to draw me into this book was the title. The blurb was the final deciding factor as to wanting to read this book. I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC of this book provided via netgalley by Crooked Lane Books, in exchange for my honest review. One of my favorite thing about mystery stories is being able to try and solve the mystery before finishing the book. I failed miserably this time around and was completely blindsided by the end result. I felt that Lissa Marie Redmond did an amazing job not making this an easily solved story. I couldn't help but suspect everyone that Shea came across in the small little town. The main character, Shea, is a strong female lead who wants nothing but respect from her fellow officers. I love being able to feel the emotions that the characters are exhibiting throughout the story, I feel a better connection to the book. The ending was perfect and just what was needed to make it complete. I wish that this was a series that followed Shea on her undercover work. I would have loved to have read about her previous experience, rather than having it written into this story.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Gloria

    Small towns can carry big secrets. When the FBI urges her to assist them with a baffling case, Buffalo NY Patrol Officer Shea O’Connor poses as college student Shea Anderson. Over holiday break, three college freshmen had disappeared, inconceivably leaving behind purses and cellphones. The tight-lipped town of Kelly’s Falls is heartbroken and fearful. Twenty-three year old Shea recently completed another brutal assignment for the FBI that nearly killed her and is reluctant to take on another cas Small towns can carry big secrets. When the FBI urges her to assist them with a baffling case, Buffalo NY Patrol Officer Shea O’Connor poses as college student Shea Anderson. Over holiday break, three college freshmen had disappeared, inconceivably leaving behind purses and cellphones. The tight-lipped town of Kelly’s Falls is heartbroken and fearful. Twenty-three year old Shea recently completed another brutal assignment for the FBI that nearly killed her and is reluctant to take on another case, but the victims and their families deserve answers. Under the pretense of being the niece of the obstinate chief of police, Shea comes to know these people, finds friendship and even begins to fall in love with one victim’s brother. As she nears the truth, danger hovers in unlikely places in this seemingly perfect little burg. While the conclusion is unnecessarily protracted, Redmond (A Cold Day in Hell), a retired cold case homicide detective from Buffalo, demonstrates her experience and delivers a well-crafted, pulsating mystery with a sobering twist. Fans of small-town mysteries will be pleased. Note: This review was prepared for Library Journal.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Missing girls. Undercover cop. Let’s do this…. As a whole, I did enjoy this book. There are some twists and just when I thought I had figured it out, something was revealed that made me change my mind. It happened like three times! I really dug that. Thank you Miss Redmond! An issue I had was it took awhile for things to happen. I wanted more on the missing girls. I was also intrigued by Shea’s back story so at times I felt like maybe I had missed a book. The story is well written. The fact the a Missing girls. Undercover cop. Let’s do this…. As a whole, I did enjoy this book. There are some twists and just when I thought I had figured it out, something was revealed that made me change my mind. It happened like three times! I really dug that. Thank you Miss Redmond! An issue I had was it took awhile for things to happen. I wanted more on the missing girls. I was also intrigued by Shea’s back story so at times I felt like maybe I had missed a book. The story is well written. The fact the author had me guessing till the end was awesome! I loved the fact that I hadn’t figured out the ending. The characters were ok. They did their part. I had mixed feelings about Shea though. All that being said, this was a decent read. I would like to read more from this author. I give it 3.5 stars.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Johnna Whetstone

    5 stars or more! What an excellent, unputdownable thrilling book! I picked it up and had the hardest time to set it down, even when my little monkeys needed help. The characters are well developed and the story is written in a superbly fast paced, and just one of those books that will absolutely have your mind reeling! It will absolutely chill you to the bones, blow your mind with twists and turns and shocks, and keep you wound up like a yo-yo with it’s suspense! Grab your copy today, as you do 5 stars or more! What an excellent, unputdownable thrilling book! I picked it up and had the hardest time to set it down, even when my little monkeys needed help. The characters are well developed and the story is written in a superbly fast paced, and just one of those books that will absolutely have your mind reeling! It will absolutely chill you to the bones, blow your mind with twists and turns and shocks, and keep you wound up like a yo-yo with it’s suspense! Grab your copy today, as you do not want to miss this one!! I will make sure I get reviews and excitement out on different platforms!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Donna Hines

    When three freshman college girls go missing you do what you must to find them! So it's no surprise when extreme measures are taken to infiltrate this inner circle and find the truths behind the mysteries. Are these girls alive? Where are they and how much time do they have left? Time is not on their side but perhaps with Shea on the case he can stop this ticking time bomb before it all explodes. What if those trusted with powers of authority are snakes in disguise? What if the girls are in imminent d When three freshman college girls go missing you do what you must to find them! So it's no surprise when extreme measures are taken to infiltrate this inner circle and find the truths behind the mysteries. Are these girls alive? Where are they and how much time do they have left? Time is not on their side but perhaps with Shea on the case he can stop this ticking time bomb before it all explodes. What if those trusted with powers of authority are snakes in disguise? What if the girls are in imminent danger? My word, just run to get a copy. Enjoy!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

    Standalone murder mystery that has a 23 yr old Buffalo police officer going undercover as a 18 year old freshman in college to find out what happened to three college girls who just vanished. This isn't Shea O’Connor first time going undercover for the FBI. Her previous assignment with them left her traumatized after bringing down a serial killer. Gonna be honest here I would have loved for this book to had been about that case!! The story is fast paced and keeps you engaged till the very end.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Alexa

    Ok, This book was written by a former cold case detective which makes it a) pretty cool and b) super legit. (All my “does that really happen?” questioning was put to rest.) 2. I liked this book a lot more than I expected. I didn’t want to put it down until I solved the mystery (which was pretty close to the end). 3. The main character was lovely. The other (mini) story arc focusing on her personal life made her relatable. Thank you net galley for the arc!

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