Kensington | May 2018 | 304 pgs
Source: Library

This is Charlie Donlea's latest release and after reading his previous two books and enjoyed them, I'm glad to say he's now on my favourite authors list. I like how he constructs the stories and most of all, the implementation of a certain professionalism to go with the investigations. In his first book, Summit Lake, it revolves around journalistic inquiry and then there is forensic science in his second book, The Girl Who Was Taken. This book is more about the making of a real-life documentary film and what it takes for our filmmaker protagonist to investigate and help clear a woman who is convicted of murder. 

Sidney Ryan has been receiving letters from Grace Sebold for some time; each letter asking Sidney to look into her case or at least hear her side of the story after she has spent the last ten years in a St. Lucian prison for the crime of murdering her boyfriend, Julian Crist. Julian and Grace had traveled to St. Lucian for a friend's wedding reception and part of their vacation. Based from a few witnesses' statements, it appeared that they'd had a little disagreement and when Julian was found dead at the bottom of a cliff, the St. Lucian police is quick to target Grace as a suspect and create all the evidence to match their claims. At that time, their statements seemed valid and so the case is closed and a sentence is passed.

Sidney has successfully uncovered two cases involving the wrongly accused in the past so she is interested in hearing Grace’s story. Plus, this is her chance of putting her documentary on a huge TV network channel after a series of webcast in the past. She is ambitious and she is adamant to succeed thus she is working very hard with her research. However, the more she looks at all the gathered information it seems something is off and that some issues were even overlooked during the original investigation. With the popular viewership and the public outcry to reopen the case, Sidney thinks her documentary, The Girl of Sugar Beach, would wrap up nicely with only a few episodes to go until she receives a letter telling her she has got it all wrong.  

If I enjoyed his previous two books, this book was even better. I think the idea of a true crime documentary is enticing and in this case the author has upped that enticement with the filmmaker to investigate a case alongside with the documentary making. The plot had me hooked all the way as it was multi-layered, and it kept me guessing if Grace was indeed innocent or if there is more than meets the eye. The characters are intriguing and are well developed; and there are times when I thought I'd some ideas where the direction was going, the outcome surprised me. A well crafted and well executed story and I'd recommend this to fans who love a good suspense. 

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16 Responses
  1. Kay Says:

    I read the 2nd book by this author and have the 1st on my Kindle. I remember when this one came out and I meant to try it, but it slipped out of my mind (too many books, right?). I'll put it back on my list because I agree that this author does a good story. Bet my library has this book by now. :-)

  2. Jenny Says:

    I’m glad you’re enjoying them. They sound fun and I love when series get better and better as they go along.

  3. Lark Says:

    I really liked Donlea's The Girl Who Was Taken. I'm glad to know that this one is even better. Am adding it to my "must read" list. Thanks, Melody! :)

  4. jenclair Says:

    Although I DNF Summit Lake, I really enjoyed The Girl Who Was Taken and look forward to this new one! Glad you've given it a thumbs up, Melody!

  5. Melody Says:

    Kay - Hope you'll read this book soon and that you'll enjoy it as much as I did. :)

  6. Melody Says:

    Jenny - Each book is a standalone and I'm curious what's in store for his next book.

  7. Melody Says:

    Lark - Hope you'll enjoy it, Lark. :)

  8. Melody Says:

    Jenclair - The Girl Who Was Taken was definitely better than Summit Lake. And this one was another good one. Hope you'll enjoy this when you get to it, Jenclair.

  9. Iliana Says:

    I am sure I have one of his books on my Kindle and you've got me super intrigued! And, these are all standalones right? Can't wait to check them out.

  10. Melody Says:

    Iliana - Yes, they're all standalone. :) Hope you'll enjoy them when you get to them, Iliana. :)

  11. I am glad you enjoyed this one, Melody! I don't watch true crime documentaries, but I am intrigued by the premise of this one. And this souls like a suspenseful novel.

  12. Verushka Says:

    oooh, this is an interesting premise. I've only read one of his previous works, and you've now made me want to check this out -- excellent review!

  13. Melody Says:

    Wendy - I've to admit the implementation of a true crime documentary in this book was what drawn me most to this book; but of course the suspense was good too.

  14. Melody Says:

    Verushka - This was my favourite among his three books to-date. Hopefully his next one will be even better.

  15. The Bookworm Says:

    I'm going to have to check this author out. I watch alot of true crime documentaries but haven't read about one. Great post!

  16. Melody Says:

    Naida - I've enjoyed all his books so far and I hope you'll give them a try, Naida.

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