cover image The Victim's Daughter

The Victim's Daughter

Robley Wilson. Simon & Schuster, $18.5 (222pp) ISBN 978-0-671-72618-8

Short story writer Wilson ( Living Alone ) explores the dark side of small-town life in this tale of a murder and its cause. Lissa Allen returns to Maine for her 15th high school reunion only to discover her father lying in his study, murdered. Local police authorities want to hush up part of the story--that Melissa's father, Raymond Cooper, seduced teenage boys. However, investigators from the state attorney general's office, Willard Strand and Eleanor Watkins, are willing to expose the truth of Cooper's life to find his murderer. Through the course of the investigation, as curmudgeonly Strand falls in love with his young assistant, Lissa struggles with her father's death. Her pain is amplified by memories of her husband's suicide several years before and of a high school abortion. Trying to help her through this traumatic time is an old high school friend--who wants to be more. But her heart is won by the man who made her pregnant, now a widowed doctor, although his role in her father's murder is under question. Superficial insights into complex emotional issues and a narrative complicated by too many threads diminish the promise of this first novel. (Oct.)