It’s not easy to spin out a captivating mystery yarn and at the same time to address the sensitive topic of spousal abuse. Valerie Davisson has managed it here, in book #4 in her Logan McKenna mystery series. This is a compelling story about a woman and her 3-year-old daughter trying to stay hidden from her abusive hedge fund manager husband. When the woman, Lori, moves in next door to Logan, they become friends. But, when the husband shows up and tries to take back his daughter, the situation quickly becomes critical. Logan, along with, local detective Andrews, race to piece together the puzzle to protect Lori and her daughter. When the husband discovers that Lori may be in possession of information Lori was holding onto as leverage, Lori finds herself in as much peril as her friend.
The story also includes meaty sub-plots involving Lori and her boyfriend, Ben, as well as their circle of friends in Jasper, California. The relationships between the characters is as much a part of the story as the action and the main plot. I’m jumping into the series here in book 4, but the story holds up as a stand-alone book, while still providing some references to characters and story lines of other books in the series.
The quality of writing here is generally very good, although there are enough stray typos and formatting errors to be noticeable. There are also a few pretty large logic jumps in the story and a few plot holes and loose ends that could have been tightened up. There is also a fair amount of beautiful description of the Oregon coast, the Southern California beach, and many meals shared by the characters, that is not really relevant to the story.
But, these issues don’t ultimately negate an interesting story with several twists that keep you turning the pages enthusiastically to find out whether Lori will make it and whether Logan will get caught up in the domestic violence. This is an enjoyable read that I recommend, particularly if you’re a fan of female protagonists or if the subject matter interests you.