Release Date: Apr 11, 2017
Imprint: William Morrow
Anna Winger and her son Joshua have just settled into a new routine and a new town. Anna is hopeful, but not really optimistic, that this small town in Indiana could provide them a permanent home. She makes a living analyzing handwriting of job applicants and potential boyfriends of her clients, but she does business through the mail or through email. She had gotten used to a solitary life with only her and her son, but that way of life is being threatened. Her son is balking against being constantly on the move, and Anna has been brought in by the local sheriff on a case of a young child who has gone missing forcing her to face her fears of connecting with people in person, as well as her troubled past.
As a fan of Sheila Lowe’s handwriting analysis mysteries, the fact that this novel features a woman who is an expert in handwriting analysis appeals to me. As I read this book by Lori Rader-Day, I was pleased to see handwriting analysis plays a huge part in the story and isn’t just a gimmick to get the reader’s attention. There are plenty of opportunities to see Anna in action, practicing her craft as part of her job as well as in her personal life and to help with the missing person’s case. Anna doesn’t usually get involved in other people’s problems, so it is interesting to see how she forced herself out of her comfort zone for the sake of the missing boy Aidan Ransey, and also for her son Joshua. She is surprised and scared by the attraction she can’t help feeling for Sheriff Russ Keller. I really enjoyed seeing Anna and Russ learn to first trust each other and then have hopes that friendship and even something more could develop.
The case of the missing little boy is very interesting and takes many twists and turns which kept me engaged in the story from the beginning to the end. Anna feels a strange connection to the boy’s mother, which is another reason she can’t ignore the case. Her contributions go much further than analyzing handwriting on an important clue, which brings her further out of her shell. As the novel proceeds, the reader is also able to piece together clues given throughout the book regarding Anna’s past and why she is on the run, as well as the meaning behind the books unusual title.
The book is suspenseful, but sometimes left me confused over what went on in the past. I’m sure some of this is on purpose to keep the reader guessing, but sometimes I think it’s okay for the author to share more information up front and build suspense in other ways. However, it was clear that whatever occurred between Anna and her son’s father was raising the stakes on what might be ordinary mother/teenaged son issues in another family. The book has a good ending, but it is a bit of a letdown the way things are wrapped up with a fairly simple explanation after the huge build-up. That being said, I enjoyed the book and think readers who enjoy an intriguing psychological suspense novel will want to read The Day I Died.