Shattered Secrets by Karen Harper
Release Date - September 2014
Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth
Tess Lockwood was just six years old when she was kidnapped. While she somehow managed to escape, her memories of the kidnapping are still vague. She never remembered enough to help police capture her abductor, and ten years later, another young girl vanished in the same manner.
Now that Tess is back in Cold Creek to sell her mother's home, she is disheartened when another girl disappears. It's been 20 years since Tess was kidnapped, and police are hopeful Tess might be able to remember enough now that she's home to help solve these kidnappings.
Gabe McCord, the sheriff's son, is now the sheriff. The day Tess was kidnapped, he was the one responsible for watching her. He's never forgiven himself. It's his goal to bring the missing girls home safe, and that means working closely with Tess, a woman he cannot help but admit he's growing very fond of. Will he be able to get Tess to remember in time to help the latest little girl?
Realistically, there is a lot going on in Shattered Secrets. The main storyline follows the kidnappings and Tess's fragmented memories. The romance between her and Gabe is there, but it's not the key element. That's why I will say this book leans more towards being a mystery than a romantic suspense.
There's a minor story involving a local commune that some of Tess's family is part of. Tess wants desperately to spend time with her cousin and her cousin's children, but she's treated like an outsider. She becomes convinced this commune is not the pleasant place her cousin makes it out to be. That storyline ends up falling flat with me, enough that I wondered why it was ever mentioned in the first place. Perhaps it will return in the other two novels and start to make sense?
I usually enjoy Karen Harper's novels, but in the end Shattered Secrets was a miss. I never felt a strong attachment to either character. I'd pegged the kidnapper really early. There were aspects that seemed tossed in for no reason. And, there were questions I had that were left unanswered. Shattered Secrets ended up just being an okay, nothing special kind of book for me.