Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Never Come Back

Never Come Back by Joe Hart
4/2/24; 285 pages
Thomas & Mercer
Nora McTavish #2

Never Come Back by Joe Hart has Oregon family advocate and former forensic investigator for CPS Nora McTavish investigating two very different domestic cases. It is a very highly recommended domestic thriller.

Nora is settling into her new practice at Sanctuary Family Advocacy when Gayle and Joel Pearson ask for her help. Gayle’s grandmother, Arlene Jones, has taken custody of their daughter Ivy, seemingly based on their intellectual disabilities. The two can prove that they are good parents and have done everything asked of them. Nora accepts their case and finds them a lawyer, no charge, but it's not as easy as it seems.

Next Nora receives a phone call from childhood friend Tess Hannover Grayson. They haven't spoken for years. It seems that Tess's husband, Professor Neil Grayson, was arrested and later released for the murder of student Allie Prentiss. The two are in the middle of a divorce and custody dispute over nine-year-old Kendra (Kenny). Nora visits Tess to catch up and offer support but soon becomes embroiled in the custody case that is increasingly turning treacherous.

This is an exceptional followup to the first Nora McTavish novel, Where They Lie. She continues to be a very sympathetic, trustworthy protagonist and her character is further developed in this outing. Nora did have a difficult childhood, to say the least, but her background also gives her insight and empathy into the cases she works, as does her time with Child Protective Services (CPS) as a forensic investigator. She is really a great character with keen insight into human character and an eye for details. I'm looking forward to more investigations by Nora.

The pace is fast and includes plenty of discoveries, disclosures and twists in the plot. What seems obvious quickly escalates into a dangerous situation and those involved may not be as reliable as they seem to be. The suspense and tension rise with each chapter and the action will thoroughly hold your attention. While it is a domestic thriller, it also delves into the territory of a psychological thriller and a murder mystery, making it even more critical and dangerous. Thanks to Thomas & Mercer for providing me with an advance reader's copy via NetGalley. My review is voluntary and expresses my honest opinion.

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