Thursday, August 5, 2021

ARC Review: Gone By Morning by Michele Weinstat Miller

Gone By Morning

Michele Weinstat Miller
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (August 10, 2021)

Description: New York City in June is no joke--and as a wave of violence engulfs the sweltering city, an even greater danger looms in this riveting thriller for fans of Iris Johansen and Tess Gerritsen.

As the heat rises on a New York summer, a suicide bomb set off in a Times Square subway station nearly claims the life of 68-year-old ex-madam Kathleen. Then a woman is brutally murdered, her body dumped on a marshy beach in Queens. The woman, Sharon, was last seen by 26-year-old Emily--a Deputy Press Officer working at City Hall--getting into a car in front of the building where she and Kathleen both live in far upper Manhattan.

Emily requests an autopsy report from the Chief of the NYPD, but she doesn't realize the gravity of using her position to gain information. Things turn deadly when a bomb is planted in her building, gutting it with a raging fireball. Kathleen, Emily, and Emily's two-year-old daughter, Skye, barely escape with their lives.

Could Kathleen's criminal history be at the heart of the violence? If Emily can't help her, Kathleen could spend the rest of her life in prison. And when Emily discovers a shocking connection between herself and Kathleen, the stakes become impossibly high.

By the time Emily realizes she's in grave danger, it may be too late. She's beyond the reach of the cops, of City Hall, of her family...and a killer is closing in fast.

My Thoughts: The story begins with a 68-year-old woman named Kathleen riding on a New York City subway. She receives a text alert telling her that CNN has reported a bomb in the subway system. She's close to where the bomber has set off the bomb, killing himself and at least 48 other people. She escapes and ends up walking seven miles home to her apartment in a building she owns.

The bombing sets up a flurry of investigations to determine the bomber's name, motive and if he was working alone. Once identified as Jackson Mattingly they mystery only deepens. He doesn't seem to have any motive for his actions.

Emily Silverman is one of the mayor's press secretaries. She also lives in the building Kathleen owns with her almost-three-year-old daughter Skye. Unknown to her is the fact that Kathleen is her grandmother who has manipulated events through a fake Facebook friend to get Emily her job at City Hall and her apartment in order to get to know her granddaughter and great-granddaughter. 

Kathleen was convicted of manslaughter and spent some years in prison. She and her husband were both drug addicts. She is the one who brought her husband the drugs that killed him. After getting out of prison there weren't a lot of job opportunities which led her to become a madam. She is now many-years retired. She lost her daughter Lauren through all of the events of her trial and incarceration, Lauren, who had drug problems of her own, felt abandoned and has spent the past thirty years with very mixed feelings about the woman she wrote out of her life.

Now, it seems that the past has made a reappearance when one of the women who worked for her asked to see her but never arrived only to be found murdered and dumped at a b each famous as a dumping ground for prostitutes. Emily was a witness to the woman's near arrival at Kathleen's when she saw the woman get into a car outside the apartment building. The police seem to have written off what looks like the death of one more prostitute but Emily and Kathleen begin to investigate.

Then a lawyer who was also a former client of Kathleen's first tells Kathleen to back off the investigation and then is supposed to have committed suicide. This leads Kathleen to believe that there is more to know about her friend's past and the mysterious Client 13 who was the only thing they had in common.

After an arson attack on her building which nearly costs Kathleen, Emily and Skye their lives, police arrest Kathleen for being the arsonist. Her bank accounts have been drained and evidence is discovered that she's the one who started the fires as a way of claiming the insurance. All she and Emily know is that there is a powerful and connected enemy out there who doesn't want his secrets revealed.

The story is told from multiple viewpoints including both Kathleen and Emily and also Jackson Mattingly and the mysterious hidden figure who is at the center of the events. Lauren's husband Carl who is an FBI Agent currently on medical leave fighting MS and Lauren herself get chances to be viewpoint characters. 

I really enjoyed this twisty tale about the past coming to haunt the present, about the hidden parts of wealth and politics, and about secrets. It was filled with so much tension that I needed to sometimes put it down and walk away to decompress. Fans of intense mysteries will enjoy this one. 

Favorite Quote:
Still, he wasn't overly concerned. If there was one piece of wisdom to take away from Game of Thrones, it was that you weren't truly rich unless you were rich with an army. And he had an army.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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