Title: The Shimmering Road by Hester Young
Charlie Cates Mystery Series Book Two
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense, Supernatural Elements
Length: 416 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Penguin’s First to Read Program
A pulse-pounding mystery from the author of The Gates of Evangeline featuring Charlotte “Charlie” Cates, an unforgettable heroine whose dark visions bring to light secrets that will save or destroy those around her . . .
When soon-to-be mother Charlotte “Charlie” Cates begins to have recurring dreams about harm coming to her unborn daughter, she knows these are not the nightmares of an anxious mom-to-be. They are the result of her mysterious gift. But before she can decipher what these dreams might mean, Charlie learns that the mother who abandoned her when she was a toddler is the victim of a double murder in Arizona. The other victim—Jasmine, a half-sister Charlie never knew she had—has left behind a child, a little girl who speaks to Charlie in her dreams and was present on the night of the murders. Convinced that she must help her orphaned niece, Charlie travels to Tucson, Arizona, where she must confront her painful ties to her mother and delve into her sister’s shadowy past.
To untangle the web of secrets that will reveal the truth of her nightmares, Charlie can no longer avoid her family’s checkered history. Who is in the racy photos that turned up in Jasmine’s apartment? Where is her niece’s father, whom Jasmine was rumored to have been seeing again on the sly? Was her mother’s charity work in Mexico really as selfless as it seemed? And most important of all, what did her niece really witness on the night of the murders?
The search for answers leads Charlie across the Mexican border, from the resort town of Rocky Point to the border town of Nogales, and elucidates the meaning of her dreams in most unexpected ways. Ultimately, to protect her niece and her unborn child, Charlie must battle not just evil but the forces of nature, in one final terrifying encounter in the Tucson desert.
A thrilling mystery that combines literary suspense and romance with a mystical twist that is unputdownable. If you love Kate Atkinson and Alice Sebold, you should not miss Hester Young.
The second installment in Hester Young’s Charlie Cates series, The Shimmering Road is another intriguing mystery with slight supernatural elements. Although this latest release can be read as a standalone, I highly recommend the first book in the series as well.
In this outing, Charlie is now living with her boyfriend, Noah Palmer, in his hometown of Sidalie, TX where they are joyfully preparing for the upcoming birth of their baby. While Charlie is happy with Noah, she is finding it difficult to make a new life where Noah has such a long history. Equally troubling are the horrible nightmares she is having about a tragic incident involving herself and her unborn baby. After her estranged mother, Donna DeRossi and her half-sister, Jasmine, are murdered, Charlie and Noah go to Tucson, AZ to make arrangements to adopt her six year old niece, Micky Ramos. The adoption process is long and arduous which leaves the couple plenty of time to locate Micky’s absentee father, Ruben Ramos, who lives somewhere in Mexico. Much to Noah’s dismay, Charlie cannot resist investigating Donna and Jasmine’s murders once she discovers Donna’s job with a non-profit entailed numerous trips to Mexico to help impoverished women turn around their lives. When she starts having nightmares about Lety, a teenager who is connected to Donna, Charlie cannot walk away from the case even after it becomes apparent that someone is willing to go to any lengths to try to stop her from uncovering the truth about her mother and sister’s murders.
The last thing Charlie wants to deal with anything having to do with her estranged mother, but she has to try to do what is best for young Micky. She is surprised to learn Donna finally managed to turn her life around but she is quite bitter that Donna did not try to contact her after finally becoming sober. With so many unresolved issues about their relationship, Charlie has very mixed emotions about adopting her niece. Despite her uncertainty, she continues making plans to make to adopt Micky while she gets to know her mother’s partner, retired police Lieutenant Pam Soto.
After Charlie begins having visions and nightmares about young Lety, she feels like she has to learn the truth about the young woman’s death. Discovering Lety committed suicide not long before Donna’s murder, Charlie cannot help believing there is a connection between their deaths. After a trip to the border town of Nogales, she knows she has stumbled into something but what that something is eludes her.
After she learns frightening information about where Lety died, Charlie is more certain than ever her death is somehow tied to Donna’s work with the non-profit. Just as she is struggling to put the pieces of the puzzle together, she is stunned to learn what Pam has been up to in her absence. Is Pam just trying to find out who killed Donna or does she have a much more sinister reason for her actions? After new evidence surfaces, Charlie becomes even more suspicious of Pam but will she uncover the truth before it is too late?
The Shimmering Road by Hester Young is another brilliant mystery with supernatural elements. Old and new fans of the Charlie Cates series will find themselves absolutely bewitched by this latest addition to the captivating series.