cover image Mercy Creek: A Jo Wyatt Mystery

Mercy Creek: A Jo Wyatt Mystery

M.E. Browning. Crooked Lane, $27.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-64385-762-6

In Browning’s well-crafted sequel to 2020’s Shadow Ridge, Det. Jo Wyatt of the Echo Valley, Colo., PD looks into the disappearance of Lena Flores, an 11-year-old girl who went missing after attending the Echo Valley Fair with her older sister, Marisa. Jo, who has no actionable information to go on, believes Lena might have been kidnapped. On her short list of suspects are a carnival worker who noticed the two girls watching his game; Lena’s father, Lucero, who’s divorced from her mother; and a neighbor who’s a sex offender. But the more she investigates, the more Jo finds herself digging through lies: Lucero about his alibi, Marissa about who she was with at the fair, and a paper delivery guy about knowing the occupants in Lena’s mother’s home. It takes a key interview, under highly unusual circumstances, for Jo to break the case. The action of this heart-wrenching story builds to a somewhat unbelievable twist, but the action-packed conclusion satisfies. Readers will feel like they’re getting a glimpse into the real world of police work. Agent: Helen Breitwieser, Cornerstone Literary. (Oct.)