A Reunion to Die For
A Joshua Thornton Mystery by Lauren Carr
Review: Lauren Carr's second mystery featuring West Virginia district attorney Joshua Thornton, A Reunion to Die For, reunites classmates 20 years after their high school graduation only to have the past meet the present … with a murder.
Twenty-one years earlier in October of 1984, a very popular cheerleader, Tricia Wheeler, was found dead in her home by her mother. As there seemed to be little or no evidence to support any other theory, Tricia's death was ruled suicide. Now, twenty years later, a high school classmate reveals that she has written a book that will tell the true story of what happened to Tricia. Soon after her announcement another popular cheerleader, Grace Henderson, is found dead. This time there is proof of murder. Josh Thornton, a graduate of Oak Glen High School and once a good friend of Tricia, becomes involved in the investigation of the crime. When he views the body of Grace, still dressed in her cheerleaders outfit as was Tricia when she died, memories flood in. He was too young to question her death in 1984, but now he wonders: Could it have been murder? The information or lack thereof concerning both girl's deaths bring about more questions than answers.
The old divisions of high school remain today: the boys were either jocks or nerds, the girls were either "in" or "out". For Josh, this investigation means dealing with people who were like him in high school, and those who were not. But he soon finds more suspects than victims, more enemies than friends, and not enough concrete clues to take to court so an arrest can be made.
Then it gets worse when Josh, himself, becomes a suspect in the murder. At one point, he says, "It's difficult to keep track of the players." And that's the most significant problem with A Reunion to Die For: there are far too many characters. It's almost impossible to keep track of who did what to whom for what reason and when it happened. The intersecting plots at times are so complex the temptation is to simply skip forward a few pages, over the sometimes tedious narrative.
A Reunion to Die For isn't necessarily a bad mystery, simply an over-written one. A tighter plot, far fewer characters, and considerable editing would have done wonders here.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of A Reunion to Die For.
Acknowledgment: Breakthrough Promotions provided a copy of A Reunion to Die For for this review.
Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
It's Murder, My Son
CreateSpace (Trade Paperback), June 2010
ISBN-13: 9781452819433; ISBN-10: 1452819432
Location(s) referenced in A Reunion to Die For: West Virginia
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A Reunion to Die For by Lauren Carr — A Joshua Thornton Mystery
Publisher: Five Star
Publication Date: June 2007
List Price: $25.95