Wednesday, October 13, 2021

ARC Review: Mercy Creek by M. E. Browning

Mercy Creek

M. E. Browning
Series: A Jo Wyatt Mystery
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (October 12, 2021)

Description: In an idyllic Colorado town, a young girl goes missing—and the trail leads into the heart and mind of a remorseless killer.

The late summer heat in Echo Valley, Colorado turns lush greenery into a tinder dry landscape. When a young girl mysteriously disappears, long buried grudges rekindle. Of the two Flores girls, Marisa was the one people pegged for trouble. Her younger sister, Lena, was the quiet daughter, dutiful and diligent—right until the moment she vanished.

Detective Jo Wyatt is convinced the eleven-year-old girl didn’t run away and that a more sinister reason lurks behind her disappearance.  For Jo, the case is personal, reaching far back into her past.  But as she mines Lena’s fractured family life, she unearths a cache of secrets and half-lies that paints a darker picture.

As the evidence mounts, so do the suspects, and when a witness steps forward with a shocking new revelation, Jo is forced to confront her doubts, and her worst fears. Now, it's just a matter of time before the truth is revealed—or the killer makes another deadly move.

My Thoughts: It's late summer in Echo Valley, Colorado, and Detective Jo Wyatt is manning the dunking booth at the fair when the story begins. There's a new police chief who is finding his feet and getting ready to make his mark. And there is an eleven-year-old girl named Lena Flores who goes missing. 

Lena was at the fair with her fifteen-year-old sister Marisa though the two didn't have anything in common. Since her parents divorced, Lena has lived with her father Lucero who is a veterinarian which was perfect for the farm girl, animal-loving child while Marisa lived in town with her mother Tilda who's an emergency room nurse. Marisa has bigger plans that Echo Falls; she's a social media influencer who is constantly updating her feeds. 

Jo knows both Tilda and Lucero since they all grew up in town. Once, Lucero and Jo were friends but an incident when they were teens broke up the friendship. The resentments all resurface when Lena goes missing. 

This story emphasizes the day-to-day work of police officers: finding and checking out witnesses, questioning suspects, watching endless security tapes, writing reports. But it also illustrates the dedication of a cop who is determined to find answers and find Lena or find out what happened to her.

I liked Jo a lot. She's dedicated to her job and to helping people. At the same time, she's aware that her knowledge of the people involved in this case could be coloring her reactions to what they are telling her...and they are all lying to her in a variety of ways. 

I enjoyed this story immensely and recommend it.

Favorite Quote:
Squint dropped a file on his desk. "I've seen that look before. What did I miss?"

"You mean my I-should-have-ordered-a-margarita-to-wash-down-my-breakfast-burrito look? Or..." She lifted her mug and held it next to her face. "My I-have-neither-the-time-nor-the-crayons-to-explain-this-to-you look?"

"The look that lulls people into underestimating you."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

  1. I would like to read this very much. The setting, the family background all add interest. Sadly this was archived just yesterday on Netgalley!


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