Book Review: Missing Pieces (Heather Gudenkauf)


Jack and Sarah Quinlan have been happily married for 20 years; they know each other inside and out.   One morning, tragedy strikes, as Jack’s aunt is involved in an accident and hospitalized, forcing Jack and Sarah back to Penny Gate, Iowa; the place of Jack’s childhood. Haunted by memories of his parent’s death, Jack has avoided returning home until now. Once they arrive, Sarah realizes that maybe what she knew about her husband is not true at all. His parents were not in a car crash; his mother was murdered and his father was the key suspect. As Sarah begins to dive deeper and deeper for the truth, things begin to surface; things that Sarah is not prepared to hear; perhaps sometimes the truth is better off buried….

 Missing Pieces, the newest mystery by Heather Gudenkauf, has been a book gracing my TBR shelf for quite some time. I was hooked immediately by the synopsis on the back. A woman lied to by her husband? Check. Dysfunctional family background? Check. Deadly truths and puzzling facts? Check, Check!   This seemed like the exact type of book that would be up my alley.

The novel is told completely in the perspective of Sarah as she searches for answers.   Once she arrives at her husband’s childhood stomping grounds, she immediately begins putting together inconstancies from things that he has said.  In true small town fashion, she begins to hear the rumors about her husband’s past. This entire novel was sort of a slow burn for me. I didn’t find that it was an edge of your seat type of read.   The pace and plot were quick enough to keep me reading but it was more of a slow climb than a roller coaster ride.

I didn’t find a lot of the novel believable; I found myself thinking to myself “how convenient” throughout my reading. For example, Sarah- a random person- convincing a woman who works at the police station to hand over confidential police files. Or the fact that Sarah never questioned Jack’s motives for not returning home during their twenty years of marriage.

I did find that the ending had a surprising twist. Gudenkauf threw enough red herrings into the plot to keep me on my toes.

Overall, this one was just okay for me.   Nothing crazy. Nothing mind-blowing. If you are fairly new to the genre and would like something nice and light to get your feet wet, then I would recommend this read. However, if you want something completely complex, then I would probably skip this one.

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