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Monday 26 October 2020

✍ Murder, Forgotten - Deb Richardson-Moore

Genre: Southern Murder Mystery Thriller
Published by Lion Fiction
Number of pages: 304
My rating: ★ ★  It was OK 
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Murder, Forgotten
|| Synopsis || Review || About the Author ||

With the publication of ‘Murder, Forgotten‘, Deb Richardson-Moore departs from her popular Branigan Powers series and introduces us to an unforgettable protagonist and a heart-pounding mystery that explores the vagaries of the mind and the way our memory often betrays us. The themes are both universal and personal at once. How does grief alter one’s memory? Is there more truth in fiction than in reality? This is a novel will have readers questioning their own motivations and that of the protagonist, Julianna Burke.

Julianna is a mystery writer who is famous for her ‘wanderings’ – eventually returning to her writing desk with exciting plot twists. But lately, she has nothing to show for her creative work. She fears her memory is slipping, and with it her heralded career.

Then her beloved husband and business partner is murdered. The police look at workmen, extended family and neighbors, but Julianna fears something far worse. Could she, deep in the writing of her latest mystery, ‘Murder, Forgotten,’ have acted out the fictional murder? In this plot within a plot, she seeks to find the killer. Can she find the truth when she questions her own reality?

‘Murder, Forgotten‘ takes us from coastal South Carolina to the eastern shores of Scotland in a sweeping mystery that explores Julianna, grief-stricken and wounded, as she searches for truth in the midst of her own fiction.

Murder, Forgotten is the latest release by author Deb Richardson-Moore, a stand-alone murder mystery suspense, and my first taste of this author.

The novel, told in the third-person, takes us immediately to Fife in Scotland where we follow Julianna in the aftermath of her husband's murder; the narration then switches to Sullivan's Island in South Carolina where we join Julianna's daughter, Logan, and where the investigation into the murder is taking place.  The author brings the locations vibrantly to life, showing a true love for them. The story is divided into three parts and the chapters continue to alternate between Julianna's and Logan's perspectives as they try to make sense of recent events and the many conundra surrounding them.

The author also gives us a peek into the mind of the mystery writer and the processes it entails, including the art of misdirection, which I enjoyed, especially as I found them reflected in the book itself. Questions about human motivations, greed, adultery, parenthood, bereavement, and illness are also present throughout, as are deceit and subterfuge. This is a clean read; be aware that it does talk about suicide.

I really liked the concept of this book and really wanted it to capture me and be a page turner, but, unfortunately, although well written, I found the pace a bit slow, with several concepts repeating time and again, but not moving forward. I felt that, despite a foreboding and imminent sense of danger, major aspects that surfaced, and which should have been pivotal, were not explored timely, and all main characters seemed very laid back. Even the police investigation did not appear to be particularly thorough. Some events were never explained, even though later revelations would have warranted further prodding; one in particular could very easily have been explored, in fact, it should have been as part of the investigation.

We were also quickly introduced to a growing number of peripheral characters that would weave in and out of the story, but I felt this was mainly done to leave open many paths to a possible culprit rather than being fully explored sub-plots. The sheer number of similar neighbours meant that they were all kind of muddled in my head and as I went on and worked out the rough motive and then who had done it, by that point I could not remember which character I was thinking of and was too lazy to look back to remind myself. 

Overall it was an entertaining story, with twists and turns to keep you guessing, however, unlike many others, I failed to be fully engaged by it. Having said that, I would definitely give this author another try.

[ARC received via Netgalley]

About the Author

Deb Richardson-Moore is the author of four fiction titles and a memoir, The Weight of Mercy, about her early years as a pastor at the Triune Mercy Center in Greenville, S.C.

A former national award-winning reporter for The Greenville News, Deb is a popular speaker at book clubs, universities and college events. She has won numerous awards for her philanthropy and community involvement, including the 2014 Women Making History Award from the Greenville, South Carolina Cultural Exchange Center and the 2016 Public & Community Service Award from the Atlantic Institute.

A graduate of Wake Forest University, Deb lives with her husband in South Carolina.

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