Laura Lippman started out as a reporter for The Baltimore Sun and has become a bestselling author of mystery novels which are normally set in Baltimore. I've been reading her novels for years, enjoying the fact that I've never read one I didn't like. That remains true after reading this one, but I must say this isn't my favorite.
The story begins July 4, 1976 when Felix Brewer disappears, leaving behind his wife, three daughters, and his girlfriend. He leaves money for his family but leaves the coffee shop he owns for his girlfriend. He figures they'll all be okay. He was a bookie among other things and was facing prison time, so disappearing for good seemed like the only way out.
Unfortunately, his wife doesn't get the money. Felix had made a lot of money enabling them to live very well. He said once that there was no point in having money if no one knew you had it. Now his wife daughters keep up appearances but must do some serious scrimping and borrow money to do so. Meanwhile, his girlfriend prospers with the coffee shop and then opens a lovely B&B. She's obviously doing very well for herself. Ten years after Felix disappears his girlfriend also disappears. Everyone assumes she has gone to join him - wherever he is. Turns out she was murdered and eventually what's left of her body is found in a deserted area of a park.
We meet Roberto "Sandy" Sanchez, a retired Baltimore Police Department detective who has taken on a part-time job of looking through cold cases to turn up ones that might possibly be solved now. Sandy is a real character, a widower who adored his wife and is having trouble adjusting to life without her. He's an old-fashioned Baltimore cop leery of all the modern "stuff." He likes the new job, though, since he can take his time and doesn't have set hours. He's also persistent enough to make progress in this case of Brewer's disappearance and the girlfriend's murder. The solution surprised me several times. I enjoyed Sandy's pursuit, his personality, and the plot. The problem was in the fact that Sandy was the only character I liked.
Source: Amazon Vine