- Author: Alan Russell
- Performed by Luke Daniels
- Released: June 2017 by Brilliance Audio
- Category: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Audiobook, Review, Books
Seven years ago, young Stella Pierce vanished from the face of the earth. Now her grieving, broken family—along with Detective Orson Cheever, who never stopped working her case—is stunned by her mysterious return.
Set in California, Alan Russell opens the story with several couples and their children having a Valentine’s Day BBQ at the beach. A ghost story told by the fire, sworn to be true by the teller, fascinates Stella but makes the adults uncomfortable. Introducing Jason’s story lays the groundwork for what was to come.
Love isn’t something you need to capture in a picture. It just is.
After such a lovely get together Eleanor and Duncan Pierce had no idea their lives were about to shatter. That night seven year old Stella Pierce disappeared from her bedroom. Stella’s bed didn’t look slept in and nothing was out of place. She had disappeared without a trace.
Her parents closed the door as they left. Even though it was late, Stella didn’t feel sleepy. She listened to the murmur of their voices outside the door.
The stars were bright. They looked so close she almost felt like reaching out to them. She saw something else in the night sky, too. It was lit up, but it didn’t look exactly like a star. Stella climbed out of bed to take a closer look.
After a frenzied local search, her distraught parents contact the police. Detective Orson Cheever, first introduced in Multiple Wounds, heads the investigation which initially leads to convicted paedophile, Guy Wilkerson. He has been stalking Stella and Cheever finds damning evidence, although not enough to convict him. However, he has broken the limitations of his parole and is jailed.
Eleanor never fully recovered from Stella’s disappearance but Duncan channeled his energies into becoming a congressman and their son, Michael, in resisting the constraints placed on him by the now over protective Eleanor, in a variety of sometimes dangerous ways. Stella’s sudden return seven years later, with special abilities and at a crucial point for Eleanor, causes a sensation, her incredible claims of space Travellers attributed to the trauma she has suffered.
Cheever, however, isn’t swayed by opinions. He just wants to uncover the truth and find out what actually happened to Stella, even though the results of his investigations produce more questions than answers. The case hasn’t been far from his thoughts for seven years and he wasn’t about to give up now.
Excellent writing and characterisations have been my experience while enjoying several of Alan Russell’s books. This was no exception and, needless to say, Luke Daniels’ narration was faultless. It’s a fascinating, different and totally unpredictable story, a suspenseful and compelling tale with mysterious threads woven through the narrative, leaving an open ending; either for the individual to decide or perhaps a sequel. Whichever, I hope we’ll see Orson Cheever in future books.
(You may need to click the beginning of the clip if the arrow doesn’t work)
About the author
Critical acclaim has greeted Alan Russell’s novels from coast to coast. Publisher’s Weekly calls him, “One of the best writers in the mystery field today. The New York Times says, “He has a gift for dialogue,” while the Los Angeles Times calls him, “A crime fiction rara avis.” Russell’s many novels have ranged from whodunits to comedic capers to suspense, and his works have been nominated for most of the major awards in crime fiction. His novels have garnered him a Critics’ Choice Award, The Lefty (awarded to the best humorous mystery of the year), and two San Diego Book Awards. A native and long-time resident of California, Alan Russell is a former college basketball player who these days barely can touch the rim. A proud father of three children, Russell is an avid gardener and cook, and fortunately is blessed with a spouse who doesn’t mind weeding or washing dishes.