Mayflower, Kansas is a small town known for only two things, its corn syrup and the fact that every so often high school girls (the most popular girls in school) turn up murdered. When the school’s cheerleader, Brooke Tanner, is kidnapped, her wealthy uncle, Porter Kilbride, hires down and out PI Alice Parks to investigate. The feat is that Brooke has been taken by the Homecoming Killer, who holds his victims for a month and then kills them. Brooke has been missing for three weeks, and the local cops don’t have a clue.
Alice is reluctant to take the case. She’s originally from Mayflower, and her dad’s the county sheriff. Worse yet, she’s battling her own nightmares from an incident in Mayflower just before she left, intending never to return. Now that she’s back, the nightmare becomes real as she engages in a race against time to find the missing girl before the clock runs out.
Homecoming by Rob Aspinall is an interesting psychological thriller. The narrative switches back and forth from Alice in the third person to a kidnap victim in the first person, building the suspense to fever pitch until the conclusion that comes at you like a Kansas twister during tornado season. In places the dialogue’s a bit trite, and some of the action lacks a bit of realism. But, the author keeps the reader guessing until the very last, when the loose ends are wrapped up in neat little bows. Little hints are dropped throughout the book that lead to the truth, but there’s always a little red herring to throw you off the track unless you’re an uber-attentive reader.
I received an advance reader copy of this book.
I give this one four stars.