Oceanview Publishing, 2009. ISBN 978-1-933515-51-9.
Reviewed by Sharon Wildwind
Posted on 08/12/2009
Eight-thirty one Tuesday morning, Claire Conover gets the phone call every social worker dreads. One of the children on her caseload, two-year-old Mikey Hennessey, is dead. And it was Claire who recommended that a judge send him back to his mother only two months previously. The inevitable happens: the mother is charged; stories and editorials appear in the paper about the underfunded, overworked, just-plain-don't-care Department of Human Services. Claire's job is on the line, and she has strict instructions from her boss that she is to have nothing to do with the investigation.
One thing I enjoyed about this book was how well the author handled those things we knew had to happen. Her bosses are caring, sensible people instead of stereotypes. Even the newspaper reporter who has it in for DHS may not be the most likable person in the world, but he's willing to treat Claire decently. The way that Claire collects information seems natural. No forcing the amateur detective into the role the police should be playing.
This is a clever story, unwinding smoothly as Claire starts by sticking by one strong premise: Mikey's mother had been clean and sober for a year-and-a-half, she loved Mikey, and she would never poisoned him. The mystery is nicely spiced with a bit of chick-lit—the women in this book bond a lot—and a hit of blossoming romance.
Margaret Fenton was an avid mystery fan before beginning her writing career. With degrees in both English and Social Work, and a ten-year history as a child and family therapist, Little Lamb Lost combines two of her great passions: writing and kids in need of help. She is the planning coordinator of Murder in the Magic City, President of the Birmingham Chapter of Sisters in Crime and a member of the Mystery Writers of America. For more about Margaret and her books visit her web site.
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