Friday, August 16, 2013

Too Many Secrets by Lynn Osterkamp: Review


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Genre - Mystery
Rating – PG
Sabrina Larson wants her fortieth birthday to be a major milestone—the beginning of a new life. But it looks more like the end for the Boulder, Colorado nurse when she mysteriously disappears while celebrating with her women’s group in a mountain wilderness area.
Search teams comb the region for days, but find no trace of her. Close friends and family fight bitterly amongst themselves telling different stories about what happened. Is she dead? Kidnapped? A runaway?
Cleo Sims, a local grief therapist who has discovered a process that lets grieving people contact the spirits of departed loved ones, is pulled in to help by one of Sabrina’s friends who is desperate to find out the truth. Cleo is reluctant to involve herself in yet another possible murder investigation, but the friend’s brother is Cleo’s benefactor who funds her Contact Project. When he prevails on Cleo to help find out what happened to the missing woman, she can’t refuse.
As the search goes on and the mystery deepens, Cleo finds herself digging into some dangerous secrets. As usual, her persistence, curiosity, and compassion keep her enmeshed in the investigation even when new developments threaten the very core of her personal life.
Too Many Secrets is the third book in the award-winning Cleo Sims mystery series set in the mountain community of Boulder Colorado. Like the others, it can also be read as a stand-alone book.
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4 Stars

This book is 3rd in the Cleo Sims’ series, but even though I have not read the earlier books I feel that I got full enjoyment and satisfaction from this book.  References are made to a few incidents earlier on but I did not find it overwhelming nor did I feel as if I might be missing crucial pieces of this story just because I had not read the previous ones.  Now, though, I am so taken with Cleo’s savvy way of dissecting problems that I do want to read the other mysteries, as well.  Cleo is just so likable.  I admired her strength and her commitment to uncovering the truth.  

This book has plenty of suspects and most of them seem to have logical reasons for their diverse attitudes and actions.  It centers around a small group of single women who have been close friends for many years.  However, circumstances have caused a severe splintering among their ranks, and when Sabrina, their leader goes missing there is no shortage of explanations, recriminations, outright lies and deceptions. In other words, we have a taut, compelling mystery.  Cleo gets reluctantly involved at the group’s request. As a Grief Counselor, with a connection to the spirit world, her role as an investigator into the disappearance gets more convoluted as the story moves along.  And move along it does.  The author shines at keeping the pace moving and the tension unwavering.  

With much of the action taking place in Boulder Colorado, this book seems to hum with a unique vibe that seems prevalent in that state, especially around the Boulder area.  There is a definite flavor of a New Age, artsy-type lifestyle and belief.  It is so well incorporated into the story that I was drawn into the lives of the characters easily even though I do not personally embrace those attitudes.  For me, it was different, but still easy to accept.   This was a unique story headed up with a stellar cast of characters who fit well within their environment.  I will be looking for more books by this author in the future, especially if Cleo Sims’ is investigating. 

This book was given to me by the author in return for my honest review.

Reviewed by Laurie-J

Lynn Osterkamp is the author of Too Near the Edge, and its sequels Too far Under, and Too Many Secrets--the mystery novels that gave life to Cleo, a Boulder-based grief therapist whose ability to contact dead people gets her involved in solving a murder; and Tyler, a dead surfer dude who gives Cleo cryptic and often inscrutable advice. Too Near the Edge won a silver medal in the 2007 IPPY Book Awards for best regional fiction in the west-mountain region.

Lynn is also the author of two nonfiction books as well as numerous articles, manuals and national newsletters. Her professional experience includes hospital and hospice social work, university teaching and research, special education, and long-term-care ombudsman. She lives in Boulder Colorado, where she works for Boulder County Aging Services.
Connect with Lynn Osterkamp on Twitter


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