This is one of those series where one really needs to absorb the first one first, but, that (FORGOTTEN) being on special at the moment, grabbing it now would be a worthwhile introduction to this one. Both are well worth a read if you like a well-crafted mystery with fully flavoured characters, both good and evil. Adding to the intrigue is the fact that the reader is not always sure which is which…
Claudia Cabriati lost her memory at the age of seven while she was living at the mansion of Araneya. Her father is one of a group of bitter Australian Vietnam War veterans with Italian backgrounds who had formed a gun club. They swear an oath that binds them together in secrecy to protect their nefarious doings from being exposed. Her father tries to claw his way back to some semblance of normality by leaving the group, but their leader, Carlo, now a Senator, views him as a traitor who will reveal their secrets. Secrets that might include the death of a boy shot in a nearby forest, and how Ricky, one of the club, took his own life.
It is mostly Claudia’s story; her attempts to discover what happened to cause the trauma that suspended her memory, and her growing realisation that the truth might have been better forgotten, as men in power move to silence her. At her side, now, is the equally mysterious Saul Reardon, a man with a troubled past of his own.
The plot is original and the mysteries breed a sometimes almost unbearable tension as we fear for Claudia’s life and even her sanity. Who can she trust? Perhaps not even herself. Who is Lily? Only a return to Araneya may shake loose the recall of the hidden places where the little girls played and saw the secrets they should not.
Colourfully written, this is a gripping mystery thriller with an interwoven love story; well worth the five-star read.
Thank you, Neven Carr. Herewith a completely honest review.