Missing Pieces by Heather Gudenkauf

Missing Pieces
Author:  Heather Gudenkauf
Category:  Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
Publisher:  MIRA
Release Date:  February 2, 2016
My Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

A woman uncovers earth-shattering secrets about her husband’s family in this chilling page-turner from New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf

Sarah Quinlan’s husband, Jack, has been haunted for decades by the untimely death of his mother when he was just a teenager, her body found in the cellar of their family farm, the circumstances a mystery. The case rocked the small farm town of Penny Gate, Iowa, where Jack was raised, and for years Jack avoided returning home. But when his beloved aunt Julia is in an accident, hospitalized in a coma, Jack and Sarah are forced to confront the past that they have long evaded.

Upon arriving in Penny Gate, Sarah and Jack are welcomed by the family Jack left behind all those years ago—barely a trace of the wounds that had once devastated them all. But as facts about Julia’s accident begin to surface, Sarah realizes that nothing about the Quinlans is what it seems. Caught in a flurry of unanswered questions, Sarah dives deep into the puzzling rabbit hole of Jack’s past. But the farther in she climbs, the harder it is for her to get out. And soon she is faced with a deadly truth she may not be prepared for.


When perusing NetGalley I chose Missing Pieces primarily because it’s protagonists were from the state of Montana, of which I am a proud native. There aren’t many contemporary novels based in Montana. Our visit to Montana is very short though as we are quickly placed on a plane to Ohio. There begins the mystery surrounding the Quinlan family.

Sarah is a journalist with the chops to dig into a person’s history and the people skills to draw others into sharing information with her. She has a sharp eye and strong intuition. In a semi-retired state Sarah is writing a weekly advice column. She quickly shows that her hard-hitting investigative journalism skills are still sharp.  Sarah is highly capable of researching and solving the Quinlan family mystery. This process is painful for Sarah as she discovers how little she really knows about her husband. Her revelations anger her over and over.

A statement by Sarah shares a glimpse into her relationship with her husband Jack. Disconnected… Secretive…

“She pulled up her email and began going through letters. There was one from a man struggling with the decision of whether to place his aging father in a nursing home and one from a teenage girl fed up with her parents’ incessant arguing. It was funny, she thought, how she managed to come up with just the right words to help complete strangers, but when it came to her own husband, sometimes nothing she said seemed to come out right.”

Here is where I start bouncing back and forth between agitation and understanding of Sarah’s relationship to her husband Jack. It is true that it is always easier to see what is wrong in other people’s lives as opposed to seeing the problem in ours.

Matthew 7:3 (ESV)
Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?

Can we really ever know another person? Even one we are married to?

There is nothing happy in this book. Murder, fear, tragedy, concealed relationships, secrets, and the pain caused by them all. A picture of the human condition.

I received a review copy in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. My thanks to the author and publisher.

About the Author:

Heather Gudenkauf is an Edgar Award nominated, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. Heather lives in Iowa with her husband and children. In her free time Heather enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and running.

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