Author: Lisa Scottoline

Title: Come Home

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Bestselling author Lisa Scottoline does it again with this fascinating exploration of complicated family relationships wrapped up in a mystery. 

Pediatrician Jill Farrow has finally overcome an ugly divorce and is looking forward to her upcoming marriage to Sam, a great guy who is nothing like her ex. Jill's thirteen-year-old daughter thinks the world of Sam, it's mutual, and they're all set to become a loving family.

Then Abby shows up. One of Jill's ex-stepdaughters, she arrives at Jill's house late one night with the shocking news that William, Jill's ex, is dead—and Abby is convinced he was murdered. She begs Jill to help her look into what the police are calling an accidental overdose. Jill's maternal instincts go into overdrive, but this is the first contact she's had with Abby since the divorce and the drunken young woman on her front lawn is not quite the same sensitive girl Jill mothered. Still, she never stopped loving Abby and her sister even when their father cut off all communication, and Abby clearly needs help.

So now what? Was William really murdered? How far will Jill go to find out the truth about the man she's come to realize she never really knew? Jill's fiancé is a great guy, but he has his limits—and watching Jill drop everything and run to the rescue of her ex-stepdaughter is right on the line. Will she sacrifice her future family to save a daughter from her past—and can Abby really be saved?

When do you stop being a family? Can love be turned off at the stroke of a judge's signature on a divorce decree? All this and much more makes up the story of Come Home. This is a humdinger of a mystery, with new secrets revealed on almost every page, and a fully-fledged plot twist near the end. (Don't even think about skipping ahead to find out what happens, it won't have the same impact—and the end is worth waiting for.)

Scottoline is so good with characters that time spent between the covers of Come Home is more like eavesdropping on your neighbors than reading a novel. Jill and her brood are that nice family you see at the dog park or in the stands at school swim meets. So it's ridiculous to think that a black SUV is really following them . . . or that someone actually murdered Jill's ex-husband . . . or that they could be mixed up in anything dangerous. Isn't it?

Jill herself is a woman many readers will relate to as she tries her best to juggle motherhood, personal relationships, and a career. She's the doctor you want to take your kids to, and a gripping subplot involving a small patient just ratchets up the intensity. She's smart, too, a delightful trait in an amateur sleuth. Even though the main character is a woman and motherhood is a major theme, Come Home has enough mystery, action, and suspense that male readers are likely to enjoy it as well.

*This Review First Published 4/23/2012