Book: Summer Shadows
Published: November 2014
Publisher: Create Space
Julia Lamontaigne has been struggling. Her sister and sister’s husband died a few months before leaving her as guardian to their three children. After loosing her job, she decides to take the children to Franklin, New Hampshire and fix up her sister’s summer home in preparation to sell it. At first, the small town in New Hampshire seems to be the perfect place to heal and bond with her charges. They make friends with the neighbors, and Julia is drawn into a relationship with Robert Wilde, fellow single parent and Franklin police officer.
However, down the road is an abandoned house. Decades ago, a beautiful young artist was murdered. The case was closed, but Julia wonders if the police missed something. Then things start to happen.
Killarney Traynor has written a story that—in the trade—is called a cozy mystery. The story takes place in a small, intimate community in Franklin, New Hampshire. It has all the elements of a successful cozy. You instantly care about the characters. There is an aunt struggling to take care of her two nephews and a niece. It takes place in a small town in New Hampshire. There are developing relationships, a mystery, and a spooky olde house. The writing is skill full and paints wonderful images.
What is missing is the sense of immediacy. The antagonist seems to let things lie until the three-quarters of the way into the story. While one could make an argument that the first crisis point was when she lost her job, it is at the three-quarters mark that one finds the first collision with the antagonist that makes the final confrontation unavoidable. The end result is a long, though well-written, setup. Hence, the book does not become a page turner until late in the story. In the end, the story is enjoyable, but lacks a sense of preasure that could have turned it into a page turner. That being said, the reader can see the signs of future success in Ms. Traynor’s writing. So it will be interesting to see how this author evolves.