Review: The Secrets They Left Behind by Lissa Marie Redmond

Title: The Secrets They Left Behind by Lissa Marie Redmond
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 304 pages
Book Rating: C+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Three missing girls, no leads, a vault of dark secrets, and a case that’s getting chillier by the minute, set the stage for this nail-biting procedural from former cold case homicide detective and acclaimed author Lissa Marie Redmond.

Three college freshmen go missing from their rural hometown of Kelly’s Falls while on Christmas break. Their cell phones, coats, and purses are left behind, but the girls have disappeared without a trace. As the days turn into weeks and the investigation grows cold, twenty-three year old Buffalo police officer Shea O’Connor is called on to dig up leads undercover.

Still bearing the emotional and physical scars of a previous case, O’Connor infiltrates as eighteen-year-old Shea Anderson, a college freshman and the “niece” of the town’s police chief. As she begins to immerse herself in the missing girls’ world, befriending their friends and family, and doing whatever it takes to maintain her cover, O’Connor realizes the track is far colder than she initially thought. But whoever was behind the girls’ disappearance was only warming up, and they have set their crosshairs directly on her.

The heat is on for O’Connor as she closes in on the shocking truth about what really happened the night the girls vanished.


The Secrets They Left Behind by Lissa Marie Redmond is a perplexing mystery with an unusual premise.

Twenty-three year old police officer Shea O’Connor is asked to go undercover by FBI Agent Bill Walters. Three freshman college women have been missing for several months and local Police Chief Roy Bishop has not uncovered any leads. Although a bit reluctant, Shea readily agrees to take the assignment. Fitting in right away in the small town of Kelly’s Falls, she  becomes fast friends with the missing young women’s inner circle. Shea feels bad about lying to everyone. However, she feels even more uncomfortable when she becomes involved with Luke Stansfield, the brother of one of the missing women.  Despite her uneasiness, Shea begins making progress with the case, but will she uncover the truth about what happened to Olivia, Emma and Skyler?

Shea is still struggling in the aftermath of her previous undercover stint, but she knows she has the best shot at hopefully unearthing leads in the case. She is surprised by how quickly she befriends Kayla, Maddie and Jenna. Although she knows better than become personally involved with anyone connected to the investigation, Shea cannot resist saying yes when Nick asks her out. Hoping to find answers before Nick and her new friends learn the truth about her, Shea becomes even more determined to discover the women’s fate.

Roy is not at all enthused about Shea’s involvement with the case. They forge an uneasy alliance but they find themselves at odds more often than not.  But when Shea begins unearthing leads, Roy becomes a bit more enthusiastic about her assistance. With the clock ticking, will he and Shea solve the puzzling mystery surrounding the victim’s disappearances?

The Secrets They Left Behind is an interesting mystery but the pacing is a little slow.  Due to the age group, the story reads more like a young and/or new adult novel so be prepared  for the typical college hijinks such as drinking, gossiping and irrational jealousy. Shea comes across as a bit immature and some of her decisions are somewhat unprofessional. Through clever misdirects and red herrings, Lissa Marie Redmond keeps readers the guessing the perpetrator’s identity until the mystery’s unexpected denouement.

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