Saturday, May 4, 2024

Long Time Gone

Long Time Gone by Charlie Donlea
5/21/24; 352 pages

Long Time Gone by Charlie Donlea is a very highly recommended, fast-paced, engaging thriller that expertly switches between events from the past and the present. Genealogy and DNA play a major part in setting up the complex, high-speed plot.

Sloan Hastings is starting a two year fellowship in forensic pathology under the renowned Dr. Livia Cutty and her research assignment is to look in-depth into the emerging field of forensic genealogy. Her first step in understanding the field is to submit her DNA to an online genealogy site. Sloan has always known she was adopted, so when her DNA ties her to a cold case, she is shocked. Apparently Sloan was Charlotte Margolis. As a baby she and her affluent parents, Preston and Annabelle Margolis, mysteriously vanished in July 1995, nearly 30 years ago.

Sloan and her parents immediately contact law enforcement and work with them. Nora Davies Margolis, who’s active on genealogical sites, contacts Sloan, eager to meet her. Cedar Creek Sheriff Eric Stamos, whose father, Sheriff Sanford (Sandy) Stamos was killed while investigating the case, contacts her and asks Sloan to go undercover when she meets the all-powerful Margolis family. Sloan is suddenly part of a 30-year-old cold case as she travels to where it began, Cedar Creek, Nevada, located north of Lake Tahoe.

The intricate narrative moves at a lightning-fast pace, switching between chapters telling events from the past and current occurrences in the present. The setting is primarily in the fictional small town of Cedar Creek where the Margolis family controls almost everything. There are a few of the plot points that I found implausible but it is easy to accept them as they serve the job to propel the narrative forward, and you will want the action to keep moving quickly as there is so much going on in both timelines.

Sloan is portrayed as a fully realized, believable character and you will like her. She does have questions as she is working with Eric, but she is also meeting her biological relatives under very unique circumstances. Being suddenly part of a cold case also puts her in the site of the media and cold-case enthusiasts.

The suspense, tension, and action all gallop along as the hidden corruption, power, and lies become suspect. Long Time Gone is an immersive, un-put-downable thriller. Thanks to Kensington for providing me with an advance reader's copy via NetGalley. My review is voluntary and expresses my honest opinion.

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