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By L. J. Sellers

Echelon Press, September 2010 ($13.99)
ISBN-10: 1-59080-727-8
ISBN-13: 978-1-59080-727-9

Reviewed by Shirley Wetzel

Danette Blake leaves her infant son Micah with Kera Kollmorgan, her boyfriend's mother, saying she'll just be gone an hour or so. When she doesn't return after several hours, Kera calls everyone she knows, including Danette's mother, but nobody has heard from Danette. Danette is a single mother trying hard to support her baby, and her friends and family know she's been stressed out. The baby's father Nathan, Kera's son, was killed in Iraq, and Kera is willing to raise the baby if Danette can't handle it. She just hopes the girl has taken a temporary break from motherhood, and that nothing bad has happened to her.

One of the people she calls on for help is Detective Wade Jackson, who happens to be her significant other. The couple met when the Planned Parenthood office where Kera works was bombed (THE SEX CLUB), and after a rocky start they have become very close. He starts looking into the case, even though Danette hasn't officially been declared missing. If Kera is concerned, he believes there is a reason to worry. He tracks down Danette's last known location: she had an appointment with Dr. Stella Callahan, a psychiatrist. Even though the doctor won't give details of Danette's problem, this gives more support to the theory that the young mother is suffering from post-partum depression and may have disappeared voluntarily.

On the same day, another young woman, Courtney Durham, disappears as well. There is not much to link the two disappearances. Courtney comes from a wealthy family and has stayed away from home for days in the past, and her family and the police believe she's done so again. She's a spoiled rich girl with a taste for adventure.

Attitudes change when the body of a young woman is discovered by a jogger a few days later. Evidence comes to light that make it likely the two cases are connected, in a bizarre twist of fate. Is the other girl still alive? Hoping that she might be, Detective Jackson and Detective Zapata, who handles Missing Persons cases, are in a race against time to find her. There are novel problems to deal with, including how to charge the main suspect. He has a pretty good alibi: he is agoraphobic, and hasn't left his house in a year.

This is L.J. Seller's third Detective Wade Jackson mystery, following her excellent debut novel, THE SEX CLUB, and SECRETS TO DIE FOR. Her characters are intriguing and believable, and like her earlier novels, this one addresses a serious topic, post-partum depression and the toll it takes on new mothers. The plot is full of twists and turns that make it difficult, and fun, for the reader to try and guess who done it and why.

Please click on the title(s) to read a review of the author's other books in this series.
THE SEX CLUB and SECRETS TO DIE FOR were the first two in the series. There is also another review of THRILLED TO DEATH.

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