by Amy Stuart has a plot as riveting as the rushing river
water. This psychological thriller has an amateur private
investigator, Clare, hunting for a missing mother and son.
But the town is putting up roadblocks with their deceptions.
Stuart noted, “I wanted High River based on how the
encroachment of a city expands outward. I can remember places
as a child as we drove out to the country that are now sub-divisions
of the urban areas. I wanted to explore what happens when
there is a rural property and the city expands, swallowing
up all the rural land around it. Much of this beautiful property
is taken over by developers. As in my book, each member of
the community has different end goals regarding the land.”
Because this is Clare’s second case, she is still learning
on the job. Sally and her young son, Matthew have vanished
and Clare’s handler, Malcolm, assigned her the task
to find out what happened. Luckily for her and the readers,
she is a quick learner, able to keep the police and townsfolk
at bay with her undercover story. Pretending to be a friend
of the missing woman, Clare ventures to a safe house for the
abused. Women in distress and danger go there to hide in safety,
and then hopefully move on with new identities.
Truth versus lies is explored. “This is the fundamental
question I write about, over the course of the series. I intentionally
have readers wonder if what Clare has said about herself is
true. Truth can be so subjective. Two people can experience
the same thing and come out of it with completely different
versions. Does the absolute truth even exist or is it based
on pre-conceptions? I try to explore what is the truth through
Clare’s eyes as she comes to terms with her own experiences.”
Clare struggles with her own demons. She has been running
from an abusive husband, Jason when Malcolm finds her. Instead
of turning her in, he hires Clare to work with him to find
other missing persons. Although Malcolm assures her that Jason
is out of the picture, Clare knows that is not the case. Starting
to question Malcolm’s credibility, because he is hiding
something in his past, she fears there is something serious
that he is not telling her.
This story has many layers, and the ending has a major twist.