Page One: Vanished
by Nancy Barr

Arbutus Press, 2007. ISBN 978-1-933926-16-2.
Reviewed by Catherine Cogburn
Posted on 04/15/2008

Fiction: Mystery; Fiction: Thriller

Nancy Barr's second mystery again features Robin Hamilton, a 30-something reporter in a small town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. While vacationing with her best friend in a nearby tourist town, she visits a bookstore and finds a scrapbook that had been kept by a local schoolteacher, now deceased. It contains an account of and exposes the tragic disappearance of a young girl on the last day of junior high, including extensive newspaper clippings of the ensuing search. Robin becomes intrigued by the girl's story, and it leads her to investigate other missing persons. Eventually, she uncovers a disturbing pattern. Girls have been going missing in the area over the last twenty years, at a rate of one every five years. Pursuing the serial killer, and solving the crime, leads to unexpected horror.

The characters Barr has created are realistically drawn and become people you'd like to hang out with (well, except for the killer...). The backstory of Robin's recent loss, and a story of family redemption and forgiveness are well played and engaging. Robin becomes a good friend, and I'm looking forward to spending more time with her. The story takes us on a quite a nice tour of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and gives us a peek into an interesting and beautiful part of the country that I hadn't been aware of before reading this entertaining "cozy."

Nancy Barr was an award-winning journalist for more than ten years. A member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America, she lives in the rugged Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Her previous book, the first of the Robin Hamilton series, is Page One: Hit and Run. Visit her website.

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