Sara-Jayne Townsend is a published crime and horror writer and likes books in which someone dies horribly. She is founder and Chair Person of the T Party Writers’ Group. http://sarajaynetownsend.weebly.com/
On a hot September day in 2001, Emily Parker goes to a grocery store in Cape Cod and never comes home again. Her husband reports her missing, but he feels his pleas are not being taken seriously, with Emily being dismissed as another wife who’s left her husband.
Only one man appears to show an interest – retired FBI profiler John Geary. One of Geary’s unsolved cases involved tracking a serial killer, who struck every seven years in September. The killer would always target a mother. First the mother would disappear. Five days later, the mother’s young son would disappear. The mother often turned up again, sometimes dead, sometimes alive but psychologically damaged beyond redemption. The child’s body was never found, apart from a body part, and always a different one. Believing that Emily has been taken by the same killer, Geary knows he only has five days to track the killer before one of her two young sons is taken.
This is a well-plotted book, and though it’s probably possible for the particularly astute reader to work out who the killer is from the subtly-placed clues I didn’t, and so the reveal came as an enjoyable twist. The characters are well drawn and realistic. We get an insight into Emily’s life before she became a wife and mother, and what she had to sacrifice for her children, which was a refreshing extra dimension to a character that I initially thought was going to be nothing more than a mother with no life beyond her family. The grief of Emily’s husband Will as his hopes of her returning alive fade with each passing day is well handled, and John Geary comes across as a believable and sympathetic character.
Readers should be aware that this book was first released under the title FIVE DAYS IN SUMMER, by Kate Pepper, in 2004.