I should never have even bothered. Even if it was on sale. Even if it was recommended by a friend (and got on my wish list). Even if it did get good reviews. The premise sounded good – true crime writer investigates the crime in her own background. Alas, I knew it was “romantic suspense” after only about 30 minutes. Sigh. And then I saw it on the reviews. Sigh. But I persevered because it sounded promising. – yes and no.
In the Waning Light
by Loreth Anne White
2015/ 432 pages
read by Tanya Eby 13h 28m
Rating: C– (too much romance)
Meg Brogan, our protagonist, writes very popular true crime books, but after a TV interviewer challenges her to write about the murder of her sister which put her own father in jail she finally succumbs and begins her own search for truth.
Working out of a shabby camper (her office) in the yard of her old fire-damaged and abandoned family home, Meg revisits the summer of 1995 (?) when her teenage sister went missing. The Brogans are a nice family who live in a nice enough suburban home, Sherry was getting ready to go to Stanford but was having a last summer fling in spite of the bad weather. The sisters were supposed to have gone to the movies, but no one had seen them for hours. A search is on. Thirteen-year old Megan was last seen, alone, by Blake Sutton, who has a crush on her, taking the boat out into the bay in spite of the weather. She returned safely. Sherry was found raped and dead. Now, 18 years later, Megan is investigating what happened to Sherry although her father went to prison for the murder of her rapist and he died two years prior.
Through interviews and document searches Megan teases out most of the truth – and the chase at the end solidifies it all. The reader knows a bit of what is going on because some scenes are between the conspirators. And then Meg thinks she’s starting to remember something. Blake is willing to help as is her aunt who now lives in assisted living ever since the house burned.
All those years ago, Sherry was supposedly raped by Tyson Mack and Meg’s father blew up at the idea and in a rage shot Tyson – Dad died in prison. That’s the story. That’s the lie. There are a lot of secrets. But her mother, according to Aunt Edith, never did believe her husband did it and she kept notes found after the fire. Meg finds the notes and starts digging – there’s a lot of animosity in town about her digging around in the past. There are certain people who seriously need to keep it all covered up. And it gets complicated. Mom committed suicide in the aftermath. But don’t believe everything is as it looks.
It’s a pretty good story, albeit padded with romance and repetition, and White keeps the tension up nicely. Still the romance stuff interferes from time to time – and it gets graphic (sigh). Fortunately I was able to ignore it, as much as possible, for the sake of the crime story.