Book Review: Blue Suede Shoes by: Deborah Reardon

Rating: 3/5

Publisher: River Grove Books

Publish Date: October 30, 2012

Origins: From Publisher for Review

Format: Trade Paperback

Order From:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Synopsis: Thirty-one year old Clare Paxton opens the door to her childhood friend Derek and his discovery. Little 4-year-old Mary Martin had been missing and all that was left were her articles of clothing and a large pool of blood. Having interrupted her Criminology Degree for her mother's feigned illness, Clare's unending questioning her own life's choices is heightened by this tragedy. Clare embroils herself in the investigation because of her personal mistrust of Mary's parents while romantically conflicted with the Chief of Police.

Review: Clare’s best friend, Derek, shows up at her house after he’s made a gruesome discovery. He’s found the clothing and blood of a little girl who has been missing and now presumed dead. The only item not bloody is her pair of blue suede shoes, a picture of which captures Clare’s heart. Clare is frustrated by the seeming lack of interest in the disappearance of the little girl, Mary Martin, by the small town and their police force. She is determined to dig deeper and uncover what happened to Mary and perhaps discover more about her life and this small town they share. However, there is more at work and at stake than Clare knows and she just might make the wrong move…

In Ms. Reardon’s debut novel, Clare Paxton is a deeply conflicted character. She hates living in the small town in which she grew up, dragged back by her mother’s “illness” and haunted by her mother’s obsession with her deadbeat dad who left them when Clare was little. She makes no bones about her dissatisfaction there, which annoys people who are more than content. She felt she was the only one who cared about Mary and proceeded to make a potential nuisance of herself poking around and putting herself, and possibly others, in extreme danger. I thought Clare was trying to make up for a lack in her own life by throwing herself into the search for Mary. There were points when I wanted to shake Clare and tell her to step back a moment. She was dogged in her pursuit of the truth, but I felt her prejudices against the town kept her from seeing the big picture. I enjoyed the twists and turns in the story, but Clare sometimes got on my nerves with how much she didn’t or couldn’t listen to others. I think Clare has a lot of growing up to do and I wonder if the author’s second novel will address some of those issues.


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