finished reading

In this second installment of the Hester Thursby series, Hester is not directly involved in the case until near the end.  I'm not sure how the author manages to make this a complex, compelling mystery and a character study, but he pulls it off.  The Hester of the first novel is reeling from the consequences of that novel in this one.  Not only are those consequences affecting her, but everyone around her.  And it's the development of the secondary characters that made me realize how effectively written and crafted Hester's character is.  

The action begins on a touristy Maine island on the 4th of July with a missing child.  That's when we meet the island's major players: a local deputy in love with the mother of the missing child, a disreputable fisherman, a state detective with a mean streak, and the woman who connects these men together.

From the publisher:
Hester Thursby has given up using her research skills to trace people who don’t want to be found. A traumatic case a few months ago unearthed a string of violent crimes, and left Hester riddled with
self-doubt and guilt. Caring for a four-year-old is responsibility enough in a world filled with terrors Hester never could have imagined before.

Finisterre Island, off the coast of Maine, is ruggedly beautiful and remote—the kind of place tourists love to visit, though rarely for long. But not everyone who comes to the island is welcome. A dilapidated Victorian house has become home to a group of squatters and junkies, and strangers have a habit of bringing trouble with them. A young boy disappeared during the summer, and though he was found safely, the incident stirred suspicion among locals. Now another child is missing. Summoned to the island by a cryptic text, Hester discovers a community cleaning up from a devastating storm—and uncovers a murder.

Soon Hester begins to connect the crime and the missing children. And as she untangles the secrets at the center of the small community, she finds grudges and loyalties that run deep, poised to converge with a force that will once again shake her convictions about the very nature of right and wrong . . .

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