3 out of 4 stars
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The Girl In The Osage Hills is a mystery novella by S. A. Thompson.
Guthrie Ross is a woman who gets along with everyone. She is even friendly with her ex-husband and his new girlfriend. So when Guthrie's husband Bryant unexpectedly dies in an accident, she has plenty of help from friends and her uncle Joel to help pick up the pieces of her shattered life. With three-year-old twins and expecting another baby due soon, Guthrie needs all the help she can get.
Bryant was an assistant district attorney. When the investigation into his accident is over and Guthrie gets his briefcase back, she decides to through it for any important papers she might need. What she finds is a case from 1969 about a missing girl, along with the files of three recently deceased older men in the area. Determined to figure out why her husband was looking into such an old investigation, Guthrie teams up with her detective ex-husband Jake to find out why this case was so important.
Though the short length may have helped, I had no trouble finishing this book all in one sitting. I absolutely loved the atmosphere of this book. The small town feel of the surroundings in the book along with the mix of characters who all know each other, gives the reader a sense of community. I only wished the story was longer to get more time with the characters. Even the ones who are grouchy and lean toward unlikable are blended well into the overall feeling of the story.
The mystery portion of this novella doesn't start until the book is already halfway over. In my opinion this doesn't hinder the story at all. The author does such a good job of setting up the backstory for the characters that I didn't even notice that the main storyline for the book had yet to even kick off. I was simply enjoying getting to know the characters. I found that the mystery was totally satisfying for it taking up so little page space.
The overarching theme of this book is family. Guthrie has two types of family: the one that she was born into and the one she made for herself from her group of friends. She feels a strong loyalty to both, which can be burdensome when they are at odds with one another.
One issue I have with this story is that the timeline for some events don't add up. The missing girl, Shannon, is supposed to have disappeared in 1969 at the age of fifteen. Later in the story, it mentions her being missing for fifty years. Unless the book is supposed to be set some time in the future, which is never mentioned, it's impossible for her to have been missing for fifty years already. Lest this seem like nitpicking, there is also another age discrepancy for one of the characters that I can't mention here due to spoilers.
The beginning of the story has some run-on sentences that suffer from missing commas. Strangely, I only noticed this in the beginning portion of the book and it was not a problem later on.
I give this novella 3 out of 4 stars. This is a compelling, cozy mystery that I would honestly recommend to pretty much anyone, but especially to those who enjoy contemporary or mystery genres. The only reason for taking off a star was for the timeline discrepancies and the smattering of writing errors. This book was a pleasure to read and I'll be on the lookout for more by this author.
The Girl In The Osage Hills
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