Sunday, 12 June 2016

A Gripping Murder Mystery in Small Town America - The Next Time You See Me by Holly Goddard Jones

The Next Time You See Me is Holly Goddard Jones' first full length novel, although she has already been acclaimed for her Girl Trouble collection of short stories.
This mystery thriller is set in the fictional Roma, Kentucky, where the lives of the characters who live in this small American town are changed for ever by the discovery of a body in the woods below Harper Hill by thirteen-year-old, Emily Houchens.
Emily admires Christopher Shelton, a boy in her class at the middle school, but he calls her a creep.
Their teacher, Susanna Mitchell, keeps him in because of his arrogant insolence over some work he hasn't completed.
Meanwhile, Susanna is worried that she hasn't heard in days from her wayward sister, Ronnie.
Tony Joyce is the detective on the case, and he revives the feelings that Susanna had for him when they were at school but could not reciprocate because he is black.
Wyatt Powell is a middle-aged loner who is taken out to a bar by his workmates just to get him drunk and leave him with the bill, and Emily's father, Morris Houchens, is the only one from work to be kind to him and look after his dog, Boss, when Wyatt has a heart attack.
Lastly, there is Sarah, a nurse in her early forties who has never married and meets Wyatt in the bar and later cares for him in hospital.

Is the body Ronnie's? If so, how did she die? Who is the killer?
What did Emily see Christopher and the popular Leanna doing by the tennis courts?
Will Susanna leave her bandleader husband, Dale, for Tony Joyce? And what will happen to their daughter, Amy?
What has Wyatt got to do with Ronnie's disappearance?
And should Sarah follow her heart?
All these questions are answered by Holly Goddard Jones in a compelling way that makes you keep reading on to find out the truth. I like her economical style; it's very visual and I can imagine the characters interacting as they play out the story, and I would certainly like to read some more of her work.

The Next Time You See Me is available from Amazon via this link.

Girl Trouble is also available here.