Book Review: Shattered Secrets (Cold Creek #1) by Karen Harper

19486810Title: Shattered Secrets (Cold Creek #1)

Author: Karen Harper

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Age Group: Adult

Rating: 3 stars

Pruchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Every town has its secrets…

Returning to Cold Creek, Ohio, is an act of courage for Tess Lockwood. Abducted and held captive as a young girl, she is unable to remember anything about the crime that destroyed her childhood and tore her family apart. Now a grown woman with a bright future, she is certain she has put the past behind her. But when she inherits the family home, Tess must confront the demons that still haunt her and the town of Cold Creek.

Gabe McCord has always blamed himself for what happened to Tess. He had been a teenager when she was snatched from the group of children he was responsible for watching. Now Gabe has taken on the role of sheriff and hopes to shed new light on the cold case, especially given his growing feelings for Tess.

Tess isn’t ready to recall what happened to her, and she has no intention of digging up any details that might remind her of the truth. But when another child in the town goes missing, she’s certain it’s related to her return to Cold Creek. Together,Tess and Gabe will have to work to unlock their painful memories in order to save another child and heal their damaged souls, for good…

Shattered Secrets is a mystery/thriller set in the town of Cold Creek, Ohio. Tess Lockwood grew up in Cold Creek, where was abducted and held captive as a young girl. While she has no memories of what happened to her, saying it ruined her childhood would be a severe understatement. Now, eighteen years later, Tess is a grown woman, who has a bright future ahead of her, and who is certain she can put the past behind her. But when she inherits her old family home, and moves back to Cold Creek in an effort to sell it, all those old demons come crawling back.

Gabe McCord was the one in charge when Tess disappeared. He’d been a teenager, ordered to look out for the smaller kids. Now he’s the town’s sheriff, and when another kid goes missing, he digs back into the cold case, seeing a connection no one else though about before. But solving the case isn’t easy. There’s a cult in town, and they won’t allow anyone near, or any investigations on their property. Tess is struggling with her past, and a bit reluctant to work with Gabe. But when they start falling for each other, the past catches up with them.

I struggled to finish the book. The writing was sloppy, and could use another round of edits. It’s only an ARC, I get that, but it still needs some work. The characterization was too standard as well – we have the heroine who can’t deal with her past, and the hero who tries to save her. Neither Tess nor Gabe brings anything new to the table – they’re the standard characters I’ve seen over and over again in romantic suspense.

Small towns usually bring forth a sense of claustrophia, but this one didn’t at all. Usually, that atmosphere helps set the mood, but it’s lacking here.

Overall, the book was quite boring. The mystery had its good points, I suppose, but it never really reached the complexity I was hoping for. The writing caused the suspense to disappear almost completely, unfortunately. Had the writing been slightly better, I would’ve enjoyed this one more. The mystery wasn’t that surprising, but it had me guessing for a while.

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