Dangerous Places: Susan Hunter
Heather Scott has been missing for over 20 years and the killer has yet to be named. Eric Dayton and Heather spent her last night alive together which ended in a verbal argument and then a physical encounter, which almost made him veer off the road. Insisting that he let her out of his car she was going to walk home alone in the dark. Eric supposedly drove home and spent the rest of the evening before going to bed talking with his mother.
Leah Nash wrote her first blockbuster novel and was having a signing when two things happened to disrupt it.
Leah Nash was going to investigate what happened to Heather Scott after the altercations at her singing. Samantha Layton her childhood friend came to ask her for help in clearing her brother’s name. But when Heather’s mother started shouting and accusing ERIC chaos ensued and both parties had to be restrained and calmed down. Samantha insisted meeting Leah to talk about what she knew about the night heather disappeared. But Leah was not really focused on her words and her best friend left without telling her what she remembered. Feelings of guilt came next when Samantha’s body was found due to a car accident or was it?
Leah had connections on the police force and the newspaper that she used to work at now has offices in her complex. Things spiral out of control when she starts to ask questions in many places. Interviewing Eric’s mother she learns one story and interview Meg Scott Heather’s mother and her father. Things spiral out of control when the reporters that are now housed in her complex right under her apartment begin working with her to learn more about happened to Heather. Added in we meet Nick her ex-husband who is trying to mend their relationship but Leah is impulsive, abrupt and closes out people and distances herself when she is bent on finding information. He seems to want to help her but at times he might wonder why he even tries.
David Coop works for the paper and is seeing her ex-boss Rebecca who is anything but glad to have Leah around. He’s her friend and they have a strong bond and it seems to interfere with her investigation, how Nick sees things and eventually Rebecca too.
Heather Scott was 18 and stunning. She was a cheerleader but as you get to know her better you the reader will realize that many girls followed her like puppy dogs and many guys found her alluring. Heather baby sat for many of the people in Himmel and some speak about her in a positive way while others realize that she was superficial, not really into sitting just the money and at times flirted and dated one guy and moved on to the next. When Eric is accused of killing her Leah learns about his ex-girlfriend Tina the one that he dated until Rebecca waved her magic wand and demanded she return him. Like a package that was tossed aside and then reclaimed.
Then we learn about Tom her father who ran an insurance agency with someone named Mary Angstrom and the back-story and the hidden truths and lies about their relationship has yet to be revealed. This novel has many betrayals, many deceptions, murders, lies, greed, blackmail and family loyalties and distrust.
Heather’s body is found and along with hers there is another one that creates suspense and drama for many of the people in this small town. Leah was told that her father died many years ago only to find out that was a lie. Deciding to investigate on her own leads her to uncover what her father was into, his gambling issues and the seedy crowd he befriended. Her mother explains in detail what really happened and it’s up to Leah to decide whether she will break off all ties with her or forgive her.
Finding the body and then questioning many of the townspeople Leah learns some other hidden truths about Heather and someone named John that she dated and the fact that Heather used many people, not only her boyfriends but the girls that befriended her. Learning more about Eric and his involvement with Heather and then a harsh truth and reality comes out and Leah has to make a judgment call remembering she started this for Sammy.
Dealing with original detective that handled the case does not bring out the results she had hoped for as Manly Bowden wanted her out and out of the way. Meg Scott, Paula Bowden, Iris Dayton, Eric and many others had secrets including her mother. Lies to some were their realities and Leah has to decide if she can ever forgive herself for some of her actions and if she will ever mend the fences with her mother. Heather Scott had relationships with many men and even one of her teachers. Just how does this person react when confronted by Leah?
Leah is smart, astute and impetus and when she puts all of the pieces together she finds herself face to face with a coldblooded killer. The small pieces of the puzzle connect as Heather’s murder, the father’s disappearance and murder all come together and the neatly arranged picture will shock not only Leah but readers too. Just who killed Heather and why? What about her father? What happens when Leah comes to see Heather’s sister and they explore her room what does she find? Stereotyping, caste system you might say and some that pretended to use Heather’s friendship for their own self gratification and some that would learn that she was superficial, beautiful and self-absorbed. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and sometimes people need to look beneath the out exterior and appearance to see the truth person.
Characters that are strong a writer that is determined to complete what she started and a police force that would like her to allow them to investigate their cases without her interference. Miguel is a strong character and Coop has lessons to learn about Rebecca but when Leah finally lets her have it I wanted to stand up and applaud. Within this novel there are many incidents but the ones Leah enters are not houses, bars or tangible items they are incidences that are threatening or menacing. In this small town of Himmel watch out for the many Dangerous Places! Author Susan Hunter has created an ending that leaves room for more and the reader wondering where Leah will go when writing Heather’s story and whose lives will it affect? Will more truths and lies come out? Watch for more Dangerous Places within the next novel.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine