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A Darker Side

A Jill Kennedy and DCI Max Trentham Mystery by Shirley Wells

A Darker Side by Shirley Wells

Review: When a mother and son are murdered and two of the dead boy's classmates disappear, forensic psychologist Jill Kennedy returns to work with her old colleague, DCI Max Trentham, to solve the mystery in A Darker Side, the second book in this series by Shirley Wells.

But Jill doesn't return easily or quickly and it takes all of Max's cajoling and coaxing to get her involved. He believes that between them they have the intelligence, knowledge, and astuteness to bring the case to a close. The murdered boy was Martin Hayden, a "good boy" according to his parents who lived with their three children in virtual seclusion on the family farm. But appearances can be deceiving. He was a loner with few friends who was ignored by his father, hated by his brother, adored by his mother, and loved by his sister. His teachers and fellow students are questioned by Jill and Max, but to no avail. Then Martin's mother is found murdered, dead of multiple stab wounds. And still there are no leads and all suspects have solid alibis. Later two other schoolboys vanish. Jill cannot even begin to profile the culprit, or even hazard a guess as to what these four people have in common. Something in the case must break, and break soon, if Jill and Max are going to find the two boys alive and nab the killer of a mother and son.

The author interweaves secrets of the past with the fervor of the present investigation to great effect in A Darker Side. And there's nothing subtle about the title: everyone has a darker side of their life. The suspense level is kicked up a notch when it's revealed that Max's sons and the missing boys attend the same school. Now it's personal. But it's also a passionate story in some ways, dealing with relationships between family and friends, teachers and students, and ultimately between Jill and Max. Though somewhat predictable in spots, A Darker Side is a good mystery to read.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of A Darker Side.

Acknowledgment: Soho Press provided a copy of A Darker Side for this review.

Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author

Mystery Book Review: Where Petals Fall by Shirley WellsWhere Petals Fall
Soho Constable (Hardcover), May 2009
ISBN-13: 9781569475720; ISBN-10: 1569475725

Location(s) referenced in A Darker Side:

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A Darker Side by Shirley Wells

A Darker Side by A Jill Kennedy and DCI Max Trentham Mystery

Publisher: Soho Constable
Format: Hardcover
ISBN-13: 978-1-56947-509-6
Publication Date:
List Price: $24.95

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