Buffalo (N.Y.) PD patrol officer Shea O’Connor, the 23-year-old narrator of this engrossing mystery from Redmond (The Murder Book), has engaged in an undercover assignment for FBI agent Bill Walters that left her with emotional and physical scars. Bill now coerces her to work undercover in Kelly’s Falls, a town south of Buffalo, where three girls, all college freshmen, disappeared during Christmas break, leaving behind their purses, cellphones, and jackets. She poses as Shea Anderson, a college student who has supposedly come to live with her uncle, the police chief of Kelly’s Falls, after her parents died in a car accident. Shea immerses herself in the lives of the victims’ families and friends, but danger looms when her real and undercover identities begin to overlap. Her growing attraction to the brother of one of the missing girls raises the emotional stakes. Redmond, a former cold case homicide detective, skillfully doles out the plot twists. Fans of small-town police procedurals will be satisfied. Agent: Bob Mecoy, Creative Book Services. (Apr.)
Praise for The Secrets They Left Behind:
"[An] engrossing mystery... Redmond, a former cold case homicide detective, skillfully doles out the plot twists. Fans of small-town police procedurals will be satisfied."
“Lissa Marie Redmond does a fantastic job of storytelling, with twists and turns everywhere you look. I recommend this book to any lover of suspense and thrillers.”
—San Francisco Book Review
“This author recognizes exactly how to capture her audience and keep them riveted with the many twists and turns and subplots included in the narrative. The characters are well-defined, especially dealing with present-day teenagers, and the crime theories and scenarios are spot on.”
—New York Journal of Books
“A weighty character with real depth...This young, questioning, principled cop has all the makings of a new series character.”
“Redmond’s mystery is filled with dark small-town secrets, but it’s her engaging heroine who keeps you turning the pages. In a genre filled with world-weary heroes, it’s refreshing to meet a protagonist who is authentic, new to the job, and honest about her mistakes.”
—Brian Freeman, New York Times bestselling author of The Deep, Deep Snow
“Small town secrets and suspense on every page...what’s not to love?”
—Emily Littlejohn, author of Shatter the Night
Small towns can carry big secrets. When the FBI urges her to assist them with a baffling case, Buffalo NY, patrol officer Shea O'Connor poses as college student Shea Anderson. Over holiday break, three college freshmen had disappeared, inconceivably leaving behind purses and cellphones. The tight-lipped townspeople of Kelly's Falls is heartbroken and fearful. Twenty-three-year-old Shea recently completed another brutal assignment for the FBI that nearly killed her and is reluctant to take on another case, but the victims and their families deserve answers. Under the pretense of being the niece of the obstinate chief of police, Shea comes to know these people, finds friendship, and even begins to fall in love with the brother of one of the missing girls. As she nears the truth, danger hovers in unlikely places in this seemingly perfect little burg. VERDICT While the conclusion is unnecessarily protracted, Redmond (A Cold Day in Hell), herself a retired cold-case homicide detective from Buffalo, demonstrates her experience and delivers a well-crafted, pulsating mystery with a sobering twist. Fans of small-town mysteries will enjoy.—Gloria Drake, Oswego P.L. Dist., IL
A Buffalo cop who's gone undercover for the FBI finds herself in a world of hurt.
Shea O'Connor is 23 but looks 18. That's why the FBI used her to pose as a high school student to catch a serial killer, a case that left her scarred both physically and emotionally. The case is still under a gag order and Shea is back on boring patrol duty when FBI Agent Bill Walters asks her to work another case for him. Three freshmen college friends all went missing the same night in the little town of Kelly's Falls, New York. Against her better judgment, Shea accepts and is set up as Shea Anderson, a transfer to Harris Community College whose parents were killed in a car accident and whose uncle is the town police chief, Roy Bishop. Since her fake uncle is youngish, unmarried, and unhappy she's interfering in his case, she's put up in a boardinghouse. Emma Lansing and Olivia Stansfield, two of the missing girls, came from a nice area; the wilder Skyler Santana lived in a trailer park with her alcoholic mother while her drug-dealing boyfriend, Joe Styles, worked on a GED at Harris. Shea immediately becomes friends with the missing girls' buds, Kayla, Jenna, and Maddie. She fends off passes from Joe while recognizing his bad-boy appeal to young girls. Shea has no trouble fitting in and easily gains her new friends' confidence. But she still suspects that they're hiding information that could be the key to breaking the case. Even worse, she and Nick Stansfield, the brother who refuses to go back to RIT until Olivia's found, fall for each other, and she hates herself for deceiving him. Redmond (A Means to an End, 2019, etc.) shows tensions mounting as Shea struggles for answers along with a town united in its resolve to find the missing girls.
A page-turner whose puzzling mystery and psychological drama are rooted in plausible descriptions of teenage angst.