Saturday, March 23, 2024

Daughter of Mine

Daughter of Mine by Megan Miranda
4/9/24; 368 pages
Simon Element 

Daughter of Mine by Megan Miranda follows a daughter returning to her dysfunctional family after the death of her father. It is an exceptional, very highly recommended psychological family drama/murder mystery. Daughter of Mine is another excellent, un-put-downable thriller by Megan Miranda.

After leaving a decade earlier, Hazel Sharp returns home to the small town of Mirror Lake, North Carolina, for her father, longtime police officer Detective Perry Holt's, memorial. As the family, her brothers, Caden and Gage and her Uncle Roy, hold the memorial, across the lake a car is being pulled out of the water. A long running drought has lowered the water level at the lake, leading to the discovery of a submerged car. The mystery of the car disturbs Hazel, as her mother disappeared years ago. Even so, after the memorial Hazel was planning to return to Charlotte where she has a building-renovation business, but then she learns she has inherited the house and her brothers have planned to go through it, so she quickly returns. That's when another vehicle is found submerged in the water behind the house.

The tension is high and suspicions are rampant in the atmospheric mystery Daughter of Mine, perhaps Miranda's best novel to date - which is saying a lot. There are several mysteries occurring in the plot. New mysteries include the disappearance of Caden's wife, Jamie, why Hazel inherited the house, and odd occurrences happening in the house. Old mysteries involve the disappearance of Hazel's mom, the two cars pulled from the lake and the clues people seem to be giving Hazel without actually saying anything. The small town, where people have been around for generations and know everything about you and your family plays a major role in the narrative. The ongoing drought is also a noteworthy part of the novel and each chapter opens with how many days it has been since it rained.

Hazel is a fully realized character and immediately a sympathetic one. You will know her mother left her with just a simple note and that Perry Holt cared for her like a father. The sibling rivalry between Hazel and Caden is evident and Gage, as the older brother, also has a preset role in the family dynamics. There are doubts and uncertainty about the strange things happening and Hazel is unsure who can be trusted to help her or give her honest answers.

The writing is extraordinary. The scenes are all perfectly described and place you firmly in the scene. The tension and family dynamics work together to create a heightened sense of caution and even alarm. Secrets abound and I had all sorts of guesses and suppositions about what was happening along the way, but my guesses weren't even close. The final denouement is phenomenal. Thanks to Simon Element for providing me with an advance reader's copy via NetGalley. My review is voluntary and expresses my honest opinion.

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