Little White Lies by Margaret Fenton

Little White Lies by Margaret Fenton
Publisher: Aakenbaaken & Kent
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Claire Conover is drawn into another mystery when the office of black mayoral candidate Dr. Marcus Freedman is bombed. Marcus is found safe, but his campaign manager Jason O’Dell is found dead in the rubble. Claire’s office gets a call about Jason’s daughter who was left at her daycare, and she becomes Claire’s latest charge. Further investigation reveals that Jason was living under an assumed name, and is really Jason Alsbrook, son of prominent local mine owner James Alsbrook. James holds many records in Alabama, including the most accidents and deaths in his mines. Any number of people would wish harm to he or his family. Claire works to keep little Maddie safe as she faces new challenges in her relationship with computer programmer Grant Summerville. She investigates Jason’s death with the help of her friend and reporter Kirk Mahoney, and they become closer, The addition of a foster child further complicates everything as she must make some decisions about her future with Grant.

There is one fatality after a Birmingham, Alabama mayoral candidate’s office was bombed. Social worker Claire Conover soon gets a call that 8-month-old Madeline O’Dell’s father did not pick her up from daycare. Claire is quickly drawn into the investigation by her reporter friend Kirk Mahoney. Will the two be able to find out who is responsible for the bombing? Was the black mayoral candidate the target?

This is book three of the social worker Claire Conover Mystery series. This is the first book I’ve read in the series, however, before I finished reading book three, I placed my order for books one and two. The story started off with a different writing style that I am not used to, but I quickly adjusted. I like to have a visual of the characters while I am reading about them. I did not get a visual of the characters and it could be that I am just starting with book three and the character opening descriptions were already told in the previous books.

The story is told from Claire’s point of view which worked well as it provided a full story. I don’t know much about Claire in the visual sense but after reading this book I feel I know her pretty well. I think I see a little bit of every woman in Claire. Her kindness, her need to help others, family oriented, focused on her job and the tendency to lose focus on having some down time for oneself. Claire is a busy woman. Claire has good intentions but does not seem like the settling down kind or it could be that she may not be settled down with the right person. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but I felt sorry for Grant Summerville. He is a good guy, but it seems he takes a backseat to all that Claire has going on.

I am not judging Claire because I probably would have done the same thing. Claire mentioned early on that she has been worried and concerned about 13-year-old LaReesa so when she got the call in the middle of the night, she picked LaReese up and took her into her home, the home where Claire’s boyfriend Grant also lives. Like I said I am not judging but this makes Claire seem impulsive since there are guidelines and rules in place about social workers fostering children, not to mention she is spending a lot of time investigating baby Madeline’s case. But as I analyzed it some more, I wonder was this a subliminal way of ending a commitment Claire previously made? I also couldn’t help but wonder, is Claire’s life stable enough to foster a child? Claire is not perfect, and I think that’s why I enjoyed reading her story so much. Even though she has some faults, her intentions for LaReesa are good. She tries to give LaReesa what she needs, a home and a quality education by enrolling her in a good school system. I like that Claire listens to LaReesa and that she allows LaReesa limited freedom and explains why limitations and boundaries are necessary.

Kirk Mahoney and Claire did find out the details behind the bombing. I was confused about whether the police or FBI completed their investigation and if there will be any charges against the guilty person. The author gave enough detail and information to keep the story progressing. I liked that she included the different towns and locations in and around Birmingham so effortlessly throughout the story. My takeaway from the book is there were several forms of neglect in the book. Neglect for the lives of children, and others, neglect of business obligations, and the neglect of relationships.

This was an interesting and well told story that I really enjoyed reading. In fact, I haven’t read a book this fast in a long time. I think the reporter Kirk Mahoney and Claire make a good investigative team. I think Claire will do well with LaReesa. I am glad that LaReesa trusts and feels safe with Claire, however I wish Claire would have a talk with LaReesa about her (cursing) language. I look forward to reading book 4 to see how things progress with LaRessa and Claire.

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