Nancy Geary's second novel, REDEMPTION, focuses on Frances Pratt,
the main character from her debut novel, MISFORTUNE. Pratt has, in
the aftermath of her stepmother's murder, left her job at the
Suffolk County District Attorney's Office and has begun a new post
as President of the Long Island Coalition Against Domestic
Violence. When Frances heads to Manchester-by-the-Sea for her
younger cousin's Hope's wedding, she has no idea how handy her
legal background will be.
Frances has not seen Hope in several years and is looking forward
to spending time with her beautiful cousin and the family that
Frances always envied and admired. Frances always considered Hope
to be the lucky cousin, as she had the loving mother and father who
were wealthy, and she was popular with everyone she knew. However,
it soon becomes apparent that Hope's beauty on the outside hides
some ugly stories on the inside.
These stories will shock readers and make them feel sorry for Hope.
On the wedding day a murder occurs, changing the mood from one of
celebration to investigation. Frances partners up with Elvis, a
local detective. She begins to unravel the secrets of her cousin
and her cousin's family. As Frances learns more and more about her
extended family, she questions the whole belief system that she has
held since childhood regarding her family. There seems to be
suspects at every turn and multiple leads that seemingly go
Readers will relate to the feelings of frustration that Frances has
when she hits brick wall after brick wall in her investigation.
Frances struggles to stay neutral so she can analyze all of the
evidence effectively. She is a character who readers will root for
in her quest to find the killer. But Frances is not the only
interesting character here. Each character, whether playing a large
or small role in the novel, is interesting.
Hope's sister, Penelope, has a severe case of sibling rivalry.
Carl, Hope's ex-lover, seems hotheaded, yet shares a gentle
relationship with Teddy, the grandmother of both Frances and Hope.
As for Teddy, she seems a throwback to the past when it comes to
manners and decorum, but her book group made up of elderly women
compares notes on Internet service providers. Bill, Frances's
uncle, is an enigma. One minute he is the grieving father; the next
he is the stubborn man refusing to help the police with their
investigation. Adelaide, Hope's mother, seems to be more concerned
with how her family rates socially than with what is going on with
her daughter --- yet she is not an entirely unsympathetic
character, which demonstrates the talent that Geary has.
REDEMPTION has a number of twists and turns that will keep readers
hooked. It contains many elements of a successful mystery:
betrayal, murder, surprises, and a strong detecting character. As
they finish this book readers will be pining for a third novel
featuring Frances Pratt --- and they'll be hoping it arrives
Reviewed by Melissa A. Martin (email@example.com) on January 23, 2011