Most helpful positive review
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Well worth the Edgar nomination
on February 21, 2012
Hope Long hasn't had the best life, but she's been able to cope. Her father was killed in a pedestrian accident when she was three, her mother, Rita, is a drunk and a pretty poor excuse for a mother. The only family member who really matters to her is her 18 year old brother Jeremy. Unfortunately, Jeremy has problems of his own. He hasn't spoken for ten years, has been given more psychiatric diagnoses than carter has pills and collects empty bottles. In fact three walls in his bedroom are filled with them. Jeremy, however is no dummy. He communicates with Hope by writing elegant letters in perfect penmanship. When the story begins, Jeremy is on trial for murfer, having been accused of killing the high school baseball coach with the wooden bat he carries with him most of the time. Because Jeremy is electively mute and there are no other possible suspects, Prospects for anything other than prison or a very long stay in a psychiatric facility are pretty slim. Hope knows Jeremy is innocent, but how can she prove it?
The bulk of the book involves her efforts to figure out who really did kill Coach Johnson. She's not as alone as she first thought. Her brother's defense attorney is a very decent man who is willing to keep an open mind when Hope starts shaking loose some facts that might alter the outcome of the trial. Her long time friend T.J. (who would like to be a lot more than a friend, but Hope is clueless about that), is willing to help her even though he's creeped out by some of the places she needs to investigate. Enter Chase, son of the sheriff. He's a pitcher like T.J., but has a history of getting into minor scrapes back in Boston where he lives with his mother most of the year. Even though Hope and Chase know they should have nothing to do with each other because of how ugly Chase's dad can get, sparks fly and before you know it, Chase is into the hunt for the real killer as much as Hope.
There are some amazingly good red herrings in this mystery as well as some great bits of information discovered at just the right speed in order to keep the reader guessing. And guessing. And guessing. The ending is a perfect mix of really sad and really happy. This is one of those books you really don't want to end because the story is so good and well told. I hope the author writes more mysteries and I can certainly see why this received an Edgar nomination.