cover image All the Way Home

All the Way Home

Wendy Corsi Staub, Staub. Kensington Publishing Corporation, $23 (336pp) ISBN 978-1-57566-447-7

Survivors of a long-ago crime in upstate New York relive the terror when teenage girls start disappearing once again in this suspense novel from the prolific Staub (Fade to Black). After Rory Connolly's father dies, she goes home to Lake Charlotte, N.Y., to care for her rebellious 13-year-old sister, Molly, and their disturbed mother. But Rory can't shake her memories of the four girls who vanished 10 years ago--among them her older sister, Carleen, and her best friend and next-door neighbor, Emily Anghardt. Rory calls in her mom's old friend Sister Theodosia, but the dour, aged nun only casts more gloom. Molly proves to be an obstreperous handful who provokes Rory into revealing the secret surrounding Molly's birth. No wonder Rory leaps at the attentions of handsome Barrett Maitland, who may or may not be a crime writer doing research. The Anghardt house's current occupant, Michelle Randall, is about to give birth, and Molly babysits for Michelle's toddler, Ozzie, fearing every creak and thump from Ozzie's room. Crisis hits when Molly's best friend, Rebecca, disappears on the anniversary of Carleen's abduction, and the horrified townspeople direct renewed attention to Michelle's house. Staub's scary plot expertly mixes teen and adult perspectives and themes, but too often buries the action under passages of extended exposition that dull the tension and slow the pace of the narrative. The characters are well drawn, however, and the atmosphere is suitably gothic. Staub keeps readers guessing through a series of believable red herrings and clues. (Sept.)