Thursday, June 04, 2009

Mystery Book Review: Little Lamb Lost by Margaret Fenton

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Little Lamb Lost by Margaret Fenton. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Little Lamb Lost by Margaret Fenton

A Claire Conover Mystery

Oceanview Publishing (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-933515-51-1 (1933515511)
ISBN-13: 978-1-933515-51-9 (9781933515519)
Publication Date: June 2009
List Price: $24.95

Review: Margaret Fenton introduces Birmingham (AL) social worker Claire Conover, a compassionate social worker proud of her vocation, who is devastated when a two-year-old child assigned to her for safekeeping is found dead of an overdose of an illegal drug in Little Lamb Lost.

Claire is devastated when Ashley's son Michael dies. After feeling assured that Ashley was sober and drug free through random testing, Claire had no doubt that Angela could take care of her son. But when Michael dies from an overdose of a drug found in the toddler's juice bottle, the police immediately arrest Angela who quickly pleads guilty to the charges concerning his death. Claire, however, cannot bring herself to believe that Angela could kill Michael or allow him to be killed. She wants to prove, not only to herself, but to the system that hired and trusted her, that she was not wrong about Angela. But Claire’s search for the truth is hampered when Angela is determined to take the blame and not cooperate with Claire. Claire, however, is not be dissuaded. In her mission to discover the truth about what happened, Claire uncovers hidden secrets of a few who had a motive to see Michael, and even Ashley, dead. There was Michael's father, a drug addict, the son of a wealthy influential family; Ashley’s step-father, a perpetual drunk and gambler, who thought maybe he might collect money from insurance on their deaths; Ashley’s ex-boyfriend wanted her but not her son; or Ashley’s current boyfriend, who had done drugs with Ashley and has a violent temper. Will Claire be able to find the truth? Or will she, too, become a victim?

Claire Conover is not only an amateur sleuth out to solve a crime, she's a woman of deep convictions, a woman who understands that people need second chances, that they need someone to believe in them even if they don't believe in themselves. She sees past the superficial images people project to the world, and is loyal in the face of danger. Little Lost Lamb is a mystery to be sure, but it is more: a story of love and sacrifice, of responsibility and devotion, of truth and consequences, and possibly most important of all, it is the story of a child.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Little Lamb Lost and to Maryglenn McCombs Book Publicity for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

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Synopsis (from the publisher): Social worker Clare Conover honestly believed she could make a difference in the world until she gets the phone call she's dreaded her entire career. One of her young clients, Michael, has been found dead and his mother, Ashley, has been arrested for his murder. And who made the decision to return Michael to Ashley? Claire Conover.

Ashley had seemingly done everything right -- gotten clean, found a place to live, worked two jobs, and earned back custody of her son. Devastated but determined to discover where her instincts failed her, Claire vows to find the truth about what really happened to Michael.

What Claire finds is no shortage of suspects. Ashley's boyfriend made no secret that he didn't want children. And Ashley's stepfather, an alcoholic and chronic gambler, has a shady past. And what about Michael's mysterious father and his family? Or Ashley herself? Was she really using again? Amidst a heap of unanswered questions, one thing is for certain: Claire Conover is about to uncover secrets that could ruin lives -- or end her own.

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Lance Wright owns and manages Omnimystery, a Family of Mystery Websites, which had its origin as Hidden Staircase Mystery Books in 1986. As the scope of the business expanded, first into book reviews — Mysterious Reviews — and later into information for and reviews of mystery and suspense television and film, all sites were consolidated under the Omnimystery brand in 2006.

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