Also by this author: Little Mercies
Published by MIRA on February 2, 2016
Genres/Lists: #30Authors, Fiction, Mystery/Thriller
Read synopsis on Goodreads
I received this book for free from Edelweiss.
Buy the book: Amazon/Audible (this post includes affiliate links)
Before picking up Missing Pieces by Heather Gudenkauf (a #30Authors contributor), I was having a tough time finding a book I could get into. I wouldn’t call it a reading slump but I was definitely in a book-picking slump, so as a long-time Gudenkauf fan I was almost afraid to pick it up due to my state of mind. That fear was misplaced, however, because once again Gudenkauf has delivered a fantastic story that had me reading until the wee hours of the morning.
Missing Pieces is the story of Sarah and Jack Quinlan who return to Jack’s hometown after his aunt suffers a serious fall. This is no small feat, for Jack hadn’t been home in decades due to the trauma of losing his mother as a teenager. But, his aunt raised him, so he found it within himself to face his past and readjust to life with his family. Unfortunately, the details of his aunt’s accident are murky and become more ominous as time goes on. To make matters worse, Sarah’s interactions with the Quinlans and the townspeople leave her questioning everything she thought she knew about her life and her husband, setting her on a dangerous path to find the truth.
I liked Missing Pieces for three reasons. First, it’s a character-driven novel, so while there is action and twists and turns, it’s predominantly about the people. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has read Gudenkauf before because her books always feature richly developed, if flawed, characters. The complex relationships between Jack and his family and, ultimately, between Sarah and Jack, unfolded so naturally that new details seemed like old news. This isn’t to say that I expected them or that they were irrelevant, but that they fit so perfectly into the overall story that I didn’t question any of it.Once again, @hgudenkauf has written an unputdownable book with #MissingPieces. Click To Tweet
This leads me to the second reason I enjoyed Missing Pieces – the reading experience. This is one of those books that had me up until 1 am only to pick up my head, look around befuddled, and go right back to reading. One of the things that kept me going is that I was right about as many of my predictions as I was wrong. With each definitive ah ha moment, the scenarios I had imagined narrowed and I would feel very smug about my ability to sniff out the truth only to realize I missed something. As the book went on and my scenarios shrank, each new batch of options left me with the same uncertainty about what I thought I knew until its natural conclusion.
Lastly, Missing Pieces strikes the perfect balance between shocking and realistic. Mysteries tend to fall into two camps for me – utterly predictable or overly-shocking – but this one kept me interested without going off the rails. There were enough twists and turns to keep me guessing but not enough to lose me or bore me with its ludicrousness, and that’s a fine line to walk. In other words, Missing Pieces leaves no missing pieces (I know, I know) and Gudenkauf remains on my favorite authors list.
Recommended for: Mystery fans who enjoy great prose, rich characters and settings, and a unique voice.