The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka
Missing Persons by Clare O’Donohue

Genre: Crime Fiction
Publisher: Plume
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 280
Source: Library

The Short Version:
Freelance Television producer Kate Conway works on a show that investigates a missing young woman while at the same time she’s a suspect in her soon to be ex-husband’s death.

Why I Read It:
I saw some info about upcoming second book in this series that caught my interest, so I decided to read the first to see what it was like.

The Book:
Kate Conway is a free lance television producer. She currently working on a true crime news magazine type show. She’s in the middle of a rather messy divorce when she gets a couple of surprise phone calls.

One is an offer to work on a new TV series called Missing Persons which will focus on average people who have disappeared. The first show will focus on a 22 year old Chicago woman who disappeared a year ago.

The other phone call is from Kate’s soon to be ex-husband’s girlfriend, Vera (the woman with whom he was cheating on Kate). Vera tells Kate that Frank is in the hospital after collapsing mysteriously after playing basketball. Frank’s death from an apparent heart attack stuns both women. When an autopsy reveals that the cause of death might not be so simple, Kate finds herself on the other side of the interview table and being questioned by the police. She has no idea who may have had a hand in Frank’s death beyond knowing she didn’t do it.

Her investigative reporter approach to the disappearance of young Theresa Moretti soon coincides with looking into what really happened to Frank. Kate’s not sure who to believe in either investigation.

My Thoughts:
I liked this one a lot and I will most definitely be getting the next Kate Conway book. The TV investigative type show works well as a venue for an amateur sleuth. The double storylines of Theresa’s disappearance and Frank’s death keep lots of potential suspects in the mix until the very end. The parts that are predictable are well balanced by the parts that are not.

I liked Kate and I also liked the two guys who work with her on the TV show. They’re fun characters who work well with that of Kate and the freelance aspect of their work opens them up for a variety of scenarios and settings as the series continues (and I hope it will).

Kate’s relationship with Frank’s girlfriend and his parents as they all deal with their grief and the police investigation is realistically messy. Kate suspects Vera but at the same time finds herself unable to dislike her.

Grief is also a key in the Theresa Moretti case. Her mother insists she’s still alive, other friends have gone on with thier lives, and it seems like everyone is holding back some bit of truth about events that led up to Theresa’s disappearance.

The television production approach to the investigation makes it a nice change from a classic police procedural.

I’m looking forward to the second book in this series and hoping that it continues beyond that.

4 stars Rating 4/5