Absence of Alice is Available Today!!!
Absence of Alice (A Sarah W. Garage Sale Mystery)
9th in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
Publisher: Kensington (December 29, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
Kindle ASIN: B086R9N5JR
For bargain hunter extraordinaire Sarah Winston, starting life over in Ellington, Massachusetts, has been a true trash-to-treasure success story, except when there’s a run on dead bodies . . .
Sarah’s latest client, Alice Krandle, is sure she has a fortune in antiques on her hands. She’s already gotten a generous offer for the whole lot before her garage sale has even begun, but she thinks she can earn more with Sarah’s expert help. The problem is that while Sarah’s sorting through items from decades past, her landlady, Stella, faces a clear and present danger.
Stella’s kidnapper has contacted Sarah with a set of instructions, and “Don’t call the police” is at the top of the list. But they didn’t say anything about Sarah’s friend Harriet—who happens to be a former FBI hostage negotiator . . .
Sarah Winston is busy with a huge sale, but that takes a backseat when she receives a very important phone call. A call where she learns her landlady and friend Stella Wild has been kidnapped. The caller informs her that she must follow their rules if she ever wants to see Stella again alive and well.
Rule #1 – You can’t go to the police, your friend Seth, or Mike “The Big Cheese” Titone for help.
Rule #2 – You have to go about your daily routine like nothing’s happened. And act natural.
Rule #3 – You’ll complete all the daily tasks I send you while following rules number one and two.
Thankful that the creepy kidnapper had not mentioned her friend Harriet because she just may need her help as a former FBI hostage negotiator to save Stella. The person seems to know all about her life, so now she just needs to figure out how. Keeping secrets from her friends could cost her in the end but she has to do everything she can to find Stella even if it means following the rules to the letter.
Sarah is a strong independent protagonist and she is going to need to be more alert than normal to catch every clue because the people she usually leans on are all off-limits if she wants to save her friend. All the characters were have come to love over the course of this story return but with the exception of Harriet, no one even knows Stella is missing. We do meet a new character too. His presence was questionable at times but I hope he sticks around. All these characters are well-crafted and while the depths of the friendships are tested all their interactions are realistic and believable.
Ms. Harris has written a very complicated mystery with a lot of moving parts. Twists and turns make this a challenging mystery to solve. It had an extra eerie feel as the kidnapper always knew everything. It was a true game of cat and mouse that leads up to an incredibly surprising and exciting reveal.
What I really like is the way the author infuses humor in all the right places to keep the story within the cozy realm. Without it, this could have been a dark heavy mystery.
Absence of Alice kept me totally entertained. I was amazed by how quickly the pages flipped. My visit with Sarah and her friends ended much too soon, I am anxiously awaiting book ten!
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About Sherry Harris
Sherry Harris is the Agatha Award-nominated author of the Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery series and the upcoming Chloe Jackson Sea Glass Saloon mysteries. She is a past president of Sisters in Crime, and a member of the Chesapeake Chapter of Sisters in Crime, the New England Chapter of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers.
In her spare time, Sherry loves reading and is a patent-holding inventor. Sherry, her husband, and guard dog Lily are living in northern Virginia until they figure out where they want to move to next.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”