Red Leaves by Thomas H. Cook

redleavesI’ve gotta say- Thomas Cook hasn’t disappointed me yet. Red Leaves is the fourth novel I’ve read by this terrific mystery writer and it was excellent. Not my favourite so far, but still a great read. Let’s face it, there are only so many mystery stories to tell: murders committed by psychopaths, depraved sex crimes, crimes of passion, greed or power run amok. Cook is the cream of the crop of writers in this genre for a couple of reasons. First of all, the man can turn a phrase. Secondly, his characters are complicated people with messy human lives. Cook does a terrific job, in every book I’ve read, of turning them inside out and exposing their frailties, fears and darkness.

Red Leaves tells the story of the Moore family: Eric (owner of a camera shop), Meredith (teacher at a small community college) and Keith (their teenaged son). They live in a small New England town and live, what Eric believes, is a perfect life. That is until eight-year-old Amy Giordano goes missing and the last person to have seen her is Keith, who’d been babysitting her that evening.

As Eric struggles to come to terms with his failed relationship with his son and his growing suspicions that Keith might actually have had something to do with Amy’s disappearance, other cracks in his life start to appear. What follows is a terrific page turner as Eric races to protect Keith and shore up his own life against the damage secrets and lies cause.

I’ve said it before about Cook, he is a wonderful observer of human nature and he writes about the things that we love and fear as well as any other popular writer I’ve ever read. If you haven’t given him a try, I’d encourage you to check him out.

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