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More than she bargained for

Cover of Don't Talk to Strangers
A review of Don't Talk to Strangers by Amanda Kyle Williams

I've been delving into Overdrive for titles that are a little older (so they don't have a long wait list) and re-discovered Amanda Kyle Williams and her Keye Street series. And a happy discovery it was! Keye is an investigator/consultant running her own office in Atlanta. She does a little bit of everything; including background checks, catching bail jumpers, and because of her former job as an FBI profiler, sometimes consulting with local police when a serial killer may be working. The most recent request comes from the small town of Whisper, Georgia. Two bodies have been discovered in the same spot. The problem is one of the bodies has been dead for years while the second is more recent. And both are teenage girls who went missing in the area. Sheriff Ken Meltzer wants to keep as much control of the case as possible so he asks Keye to consult, rather then calling in the FBI.

Keye initially thinks she'll read the files, provide an informed opinion, and be done with Whisper, GA. Famous last words. Instead she finds herself staying in Whisper and becoming more enmeshed in the case. The first girl was kidnapped ten years ago and because of her difficult family background, was presumed to have been a runaway. It is only with the discovery of the two girls' bodies that the true tragedy has become apparent. The question is, why were there ten years between the kidnappings? Did the killer move away? Go to prison? Keye has her work cut out for her trying to find the answers especially as no one, including most of the rest of the local police force, really wants her help.

Keye is a great character. She was kicked out of the Bureau because of her drinking. Now sober and running her own business, she still struggles to keep her personal life in order. Including trying to come to terms with her current, accidental, live-in situation with her boyfriend (his house was badly damaged by a tornado in the last book). She's intelligent and competent even while dealing with the difficulties in the claustrophobic, small-town atmosphere of Whisper. And the mystery is very well done here, as well. Though the ending is tough to take, it works within the tightly woven plot. If you haven't read Williams yet, I suggest starting with The Stranger You Seek. And because this is a series that came out a bit ago, all three are currently available on Overdrive.

Aug 24, 2020