Go to Homepage   Susan McBride:
And Then She Was Gone


Mayhaven Publishing (Paperback),
ISBN 1-878044-61-3
The abduction of four-year-old Carrie Spencer from a busy playground shatters her family's ideal middle class suburban life in Litchfield, Texas. But that's nothing compared to the town's panic when her body is discovered a few days later. 

And Then She Was Gone examines American family life through the eyes of Maggie Ryan, a child abuse survivor and detective on the Litchfield police force, struggling to determine who the killer is. Why did Dr. Spencer, Carrie's father, have to leave Connecticut, and why is the family so secretive about it? Why is Mrs. Spencer so overprotective? Why is Jake, Carrie's brother, so angry and resentful towards his dead sister? How does their behavior relate to the recent release of convicted child killer Brian Westmoreland? And has Westmoreland returned to his old MO?  

Maggie's search for the answers to these questions will enthrall you. In addition, McBride knows how to effectively use the fictional investigation to comment on many controversial areas of our society, including child abuse, child abduction, sexual discrimination, and the early release of dangerous prisoners. Yet McBride's style neatly prevents her agenda from detracting from the story. The plot runs very smoothly, flowing from one scene to the next. I found the clues a little too obvious and guessed the killer's identity by chapter 10. Even so, McBride left me anxious to discover how Maggie reveals all of the family's secrets and finally identifies the killer. 

A slight blandness in the characters marks the only down side to the novel. Maggie Ryan's own personal struggles, for example, made her weak in key areas. Even so Maggie Ryan will be a welcome addition to the literary detective force.  

Stephen Smith

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