Monday, April 1, 2013

Lindsey Lost by Suzanne Marie Phillips

"Nothing.  I know nothing. It's like yesterday never was."

Lindsey Lost is a suspenseful, murder mystery novel that keeps readers guessing right to the very end. The story is told over 12 days, beginning January 11, 2011 and running to January 23, 2011. The story revolves around a brother and sister, both of whom are high-performing athletes.

Micah Hamilton throws a fastball in excess of ninety miles per hour, earning him the nickname, "Comet". He is hoping to get into a good school and make the major league. Micah's girlfriend, Vivian Nguyen, is the "real deal". She keeps him anchored and they are very close. Vivian's mom died two years ago.

His older sister, Lindsey Michelle Hamilton is an outstanding track athlete who has run the mile in 4:18 and who has her sights set on the London Olympics. Lindsay placed at Nationals last year with a great time that threatens other top runners. Her dream is to place at Nationals and make the Olympic team for the 2012 London Olympics. Because Lindsey has been so focused on her athletics, she only started dating last year. Her first boyfriend was Jonas, a football player, on whom Lindsey had a big crush.But the relationship didn't last and now she's dating Micah's friend, Reed, who is obsessed with her.

Lindsey's longtime coach, Kelly, can help her achieve that dream. Kelly herself was an Olympian who placed fourth in the mile at Athens and she's hoping to follow Lindsey into a top track school. But, it turns out that Kelly and Lindsey have a major conflict over just how that dream will be achieved. Kelly wants Lindsey to attend UCLA, Kelly's alma mater, but Lindsey has other dreams too. After her track career, she wants to be a marine biologist studying sea turtles and she therefore, wants to go to USC which has an underwater lab.

Lindsey is in her senior year and this time of the year is her off-season. But things haven't been going well for Lindsey lately. For one thing, during the past two weeks, Lindsey finds that she has been slowing down and that she seems to be in a slump in her training. She doesn't know why, but she figures it's better to have the slump now than sometime in the next year when she can't afford to perform poorly. In addition to this stress, Micah notices that Lindsey is not getting along with Kelly. They argue

When Micah wakes up on January 13, on the living room couch, he learns that Lindsey has gone missing. He remembers that the previous night, January 12, his parents went looking for Lindsey when she did not return home from school. Micah does not remember anything that happened on January 12. He doesn't remember being with Lindsey and he doesn't remember what happened to her. His father, a doctor, tells him that this can be quite common in people who have experienced a terrible trauma and that his memory might return. Or it might not.

A search through the orchard that Micah and Lindsey often passed through on their way home from school results in the discovery of Lindsey's body. A missing person's investigation has now become one for murder. As Micah struggles to piece together the missing day, the list of suspects grows. But only Micah has the pieces to the puzzle that will solve Lindsey's murder.

Phillips builds suspense throughout novel using Micah as an unreliable narrator and what he reveals about Lindsey's relationships with each of the main characters. This is done sometimes by how they react to Lindsey's death and at other times by what is revealed about their relationship with her. For example, Micah's father becomes a suspect by the way he suggests that Micah might never get his memory back. He urges Micah not to talk to anyone else about his memories and to come to him first. This leads the reader to question whether he is trying to protect Micah or whether he is hiding something.

Likewise, Lindsey's conflicts with both Kelly and Reed also indicate a possible motive for murder. Even Micah is a suspect, based on what he can remember from that day and the evidence that the detectives collect from the murder scene.

This short novel will appeal to reluctant readers who enjoy mystery novels. The beautiful cover is a wonderful incentive to pick up the novel and check it out!

Book Details:
Lindsey Lost by Suzanne Marie Phillips
New York: Viking     2012
208 pp.

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