Title: Hidden Pieces (Misty Pines Mystery #1)
Author: Mary Keliikoa
Published on: 25 October 2022
Genre: Mystery and Thrillers | Police Procedural
Hidden Pieces is the first book in Mary Keliikoa’s Misty Pines Mystery series.
The story begins with Allison on her way to school. Unknown to her, there’s someone waiting for her…She knows the kidnapper so she gets into the car and the next thing she knows, the world around her goes dark.
Sheriff Jax Turner is staring down at the end of a gun barrel. He’s had a tragic past – his daughter succumbed to cancer at the age of four, and the loss led to separation from his wife, Abby. Jax has nothing to live for… He’s just about to pull the trigger when he receives a message on his radio.
A young girl has disappeared. Jax was a rookie detective twenty five years ago when a young girl was murdered. He couldn’t catch the killer. But this time, he doesn’t want to make any mistakes. He drags himself out of the abyss and vows to catch the kidnapper and rescue the girl.
But things aren’t as easy as they look. As he starts to look deeper into the girl’s personal life, he learns not everybody is forthcoming. Even her own mum seems to be hiding something. Then, he makes a shocking discovery. The missing girl’s stepmother’s sister had died in a tragic event two decades ago. Jax wonders if the two cases are related and the killer has returned with a vengeance.
Can Jax rescue Allison before it is too late?
A promising start to a brand new police procedural series by my favorite author Mary Keliikoa. I have been following Keliikoa’s Kelly Pruett Mystery Series and was excited to hear of her new mystery series. While Kelly Pruett is a PI, Jax Turner is a detective. I found a couple of similarities between the two series: strong and independent women (mostly single mothers juggling between work and family) and, the protagonist has a tragic past.
In this case, we have Elena (Allison’s ex stepmother) and Emily – both with tragic pasts, and both trying to cope with their day-to-day lives. Elena and her sister were orphaned at an early age and things were bad at their foster home. Elena’s sister was murdered and Elena had barely managed to escape from her killer. Her sister’s killer was never caught.
Emily’s been raising Allison alone after her husband Danny fell in love with Elena. Allison preferred to live with her dad, making Emily more angry about her cheating ex-husband. The story alternates between Emily and Elena, and Jax looking for Allison before it’s too late.
Halfway through the story, Jax learns of Elena’s older brother Steven. He was out of picture when the girls moved into foster home so Jax had no idea the girls had an older sibling. Elena has a love-hate relationship with Steven. He sent her a frantic message for help before disappearing… as Elena goes in search of her brother, she makes a shocking discovery.
I loved the plot and alternating PoVs kept me guessing till the end. The shocking twist at the end was unexpected. I didn’t see it coming. Though the story was mysterious and suspenseful, I felt something amiss. (I cannot point it out though.) I had a weird feeling about a certain character… what they said and what they did didn’t seem to match.
Overall, this was an engrossing read. I kept my expectations high with this book and hopefully, things turn out to be better (or murkier 😉 ) in the next installment.
I received an ARC from Level Best Books and NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.