What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger, so why is Audrey weakening day by day?
It's been a tough year for Audrey's family. Her husband Geoff, a pastor, lost his job after a scandal rocked their congregation.
Audrey hasn't lost faith. She's held her family together. Their attempt to resurrect a failing bakery is an effort to heal the family wounds and restore their place in the community.
Late to the bakery one dim, foggy morning, Audrey turns into the intersection in front of the shop and strikes a vehicle that she can't see even after the collision settles. Emerging from her car into the fog, she discovers she's hit a motor scooter. There's no rider in sight. There's blood, though, so much that she slips in it, injuring her wrists.
The absence of the scooter driver is a mystery, especially to Sergeant Jack Mansfield, the detective and church member who drove Geoff from his pulpit. The scooter belongs to Jack's wife, Julie, a teacher at the local high school. She has vanished like morning fog.
Though there is no evidence to support Jack's growing suspicion that Audrey and Geoff were involved in Julie's disappearance, the detective is convinced of their guilt. Jack's ability to reason slips as the leads on his wife dry up.
When Jack takes the tiny bakery and its patron’s hostage, Audrey must find Julie and unravel the secret of her own mysterious suffering before Jack comes undone.
Geoff Bofinger has been ex-communicated from his church. A Congregationalist by the name of, Jack Mansfield has convinced the elder board that Pastor Geoff had violated his promise to be their spiritual leader and should be sent away. Now Geoff, his wife Audrey and their teenaged son, Ed, are running the old ‘Yummy Crumb’ bakery who filed for bankruptcy. They had been known for their weak coffee, dry pastries, and tough loaves of bread. Audrey and the woman she hired, Estrella, bake the most wonderful tasting bread that Audrey ‘gives away’ to deserving members of their community. They decided to try and resurrect the old bakery in an effort to heal the family wounds and restore their place in the community.
Audrey is a deeply religious woman and felt called by God to be a “comforter” and she is glad for the job. She sat with her friend, Cora Jean Hall, who was dying of pancreatic cancer and believed that: “…people who suffer shouldn’t be left alone…”
Driving to the bakery early one morning with her son, Ed, Audrey’s car hit a motor scooter but the driver seems to have disappeared. There was a lot of blood so the person on the scooter was obviously hurt, but where did they go? Then Ed recognized the scooter and said: “That’s Julie Mansfield’s scooter.” It was Julie’s husband who was responsible for having Geoff thrown out of his Pastoral job at the church! Julie’s husband was none other than “Sergeant Jack Mansfield”, a city detective, and Julie was a math teacher at Mazy High school.
Jack is accusing Geoff Bofinger and his wife Audrey of killing Julie and hiding her body somewhere to get back at them for having Geoff tossed out of the church. So, Jack takes some hostages at the bakery in a stand-off and has given Audrey a couple of hours to either produce his wife Julie, or her body. If she’s not back in time, he will kill everyone he’s taken hostage and has already shot through the foot of the high school coach.
Can Audrey find out what happened to Julie and locate her before she loses her husband and her son?
What I thought was going to be a quick, light read turned out to be a wonderful suspense novel that kept me turning page after page. I was completely engrossed in this story to the point that I didn’t even want to stop long enough to make a cup of tea!!! This is the first novel of Erin Healy that I’ve read and will definitely be looking up more of her books in the future.
***PREVIEW COPY COURTESY OF NETGALLEY, WITH THANKS!***