A search for birth parents turns into a thrilling, engaging mystery.
In Kentucky Woman by Mike Brogan, a young woman tries to figure out her roots, with potentially deadly consequences. The novel delves into questions of just what makes a family a family. Though the pace is slow at times, this book delivers mystery and intrigue.
Sixteen-year-old Ellie Stuart’s adoptive parents are tragically killed in an accident. Now twenty-one, Ellie is living in small-town Kentucky, and is attempting to find her birth parents with the help of her friend Quinn, an ex-football player and law student. While it seems like a simple enough task, the fact that she’s being thwarted at every turn leaves her feeling suspicious. As a result, she’s more determined than ever to figure out exactly what her origins are. However, it appears someone is hot on her trail, and—for reasons that become clear later—does not want her obtaining this information.
The novel takes place against the backdrop of miners pressing charges against the state of Kentucky for the sickness they developed from the harsh conditions of the mines, a factor that plays into the story in often unexpected ways. What is clear is that Ellie is in danger, someone is trying to kill her, and she doesn’t know why. It’s revealed that the “doctor” who supposedly brought her into this world actually died six years before she was born, and many other botched records don’t make a whole lot of sense. It seems like everyone but Ellie and Quinn is in on the scheme of her adoption, including the town judge.
Ellie and Quinn have good chemistry, and an interesting way of working off each other that makes them worth reading about. Their relationship develops over time, and it’s clear they learn to care about each other deeply. While the novel starts out in the thick of the action, with Ellie about to be killed by a stranger for unknown reasons, it does slow a bit, to its detriment, for a few chapters before picking back up when the characters make a shocking discovery about Ellie’s origins.
The wide cast of characters often gets confusing, as people seem to drift in and out or are introduced only to never be seen again. Despite this, the main story manages to be engaging, with interesting characters to drive it forward. Fans of thrillers and suspense will get the most out of Kentucky Woman.
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