Review: Missing Pieces by Heather Gudenkau

Heather Gudenkau 978-0-7783-1865-1    MIRA Books  288 Pages; First Printing: February 2016

Sarah Quinlan’s husband, Jack, has put a lot of distance between him and his past. Though he keeps in touch with his immediate family, he hasn’t visited his hometown for twenty years. When his beloved aunt, Julia, takes a fall and lands in a coma, he returns home to Penny Gate, Iowa. In Missing Pieces, Heather Gudenkau uses the Small Town, USA stage to craft a masterful whodunit, where Sarah walks blindly into Jack’s past and is armed only with the misconceptions he has told her about the death of his parents.  
She quickly learns Jack’s mother was bludgeoned and Julia’s fall was no accident. Sarah soon finds herself embroiled in a complex family dynamics where: Jack’s sister is a suspect; his cousin believes this possibility; and this same cousin is married to Jack’s high school sweetheart. While battling the betrayal she feels from Jack’s secrets and lies, Sarah has to rely on the gossip of townspeople and the skills she learned as an investigative reporter to put together the missing pieces. Gudenkau’s excellent pacing and efficient use of words make this novel a strong addition to the amateur sleuth category. By the time the reader reaches the end, she would come to understand why one must account for the past.

Recommendation: MEDIUM-HIGH
Reviewed by Guichard Cadet