Gathering Shadows by Nancy Mehl
Bethany House Publishers, May 6, 2014

Wynter Evans is a promising young reporter for a television station in St. Louis, but even a bright future doesn’t take away her pain over the disappearance of her brother nine years ago. So when she stumbles across a photograph of a boy with an eerie resemblance to him, she can’t pass up the chance to track him down. With research for work as her cover, she sets out with one of the station’s photogs for the place where the picture was taken: the town of Sanctuary.

Almost as soon as she arrives, she meets the town’s handsome young mayor, Rueben King, and together they begin to uncover long held secrets that could tear the small town apart and change everything Wynter thought she knew about her life. As the truth of her family’s past hides in the shadows, it’s clear someone will stop at nothing to keep the answers she’s searching for hidden forever–even if the cost is Wynter’s very life.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book when I started reading it. I had never read Nancy Mehl before but the premise intrigued me. This was a good book and kept me turning the pages ever so quickly. The mystery surrounding Wynter’s missing brother was captivating. The secrets apparently held in the small town of Sanctuary had me asking lots of questions. The mystery deepened almost every other chapter as the book trotted along at it’s quick pace. I didn’t know who the criminal was until the end, but I was speculating widly throughout the book.

These are all great things for a suspense novel to have. I didn’t really connect with the characters though. Wynter was so focused on the missing brother case that she seemed to miss much of what was going on around her – including clues to the case. Rueben, the cool headed, calm farmer/mayor of Sanctuary never seemed to work on his farm or do anything but follow Wynter around. These two didn’t have a deep connection, or if they did, it needed more time to develop. I would have liked to see them spend more time together once this case was over because this case was huge for Wynter’s life – everything about it was so confronting for Wynter that any real person going through the same thing wouldn’t have the head or heart space to even contemplate a romance for several months.

Overall a good mystery book that needed more work on the characters. I would like to read more from this author in the future.

Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of this novel for review.  I was in no way obliged to give a positive review.