Book Number Six
It may not even be middle brow level reading, but it's enjoyable, and as a writer, I've found that good mysteries can really teach you about plot development. Too often I've figured out whodunit early in the book, but when a mystery makes you want to skip ahead and read the last few pages, you've got a good one. That was the case with Shiny Water by Dr. Anna Salter, a clinical psychologist known for her work in the field of sexual abuse.
Like the author, the main character of Shiny Water is a psychologist in this field. Michael Stone is a dedicated, female psychologist who has testified in a custody case where the care of the children was awarded to the father. Stone is convinced that he is a molester. The day the children have been given to their father, the children disappear are found dead in their mother's house. Since she had testified on behalf of the mother, Stone finds both her personal and professional abilities questioned by others and herself. As she delves deeper into this murder, both to find if she did miss something and to help find who murdered the kids, she finds herself at risk from both the law and the murderer.
It's a good story line, but what makes this story really work is the excellent character development of Michael Stone. You can easily visualize how this woman lives, and her internal life is revealed gradually. The wonderful tension created by Stones' efforts at self-control among predators who try to control others and their victims keeps you reading.
My friend found this book on the sale rack at a dollar store. The price ($1.25) was printed on the cover. It's a good reminder about the thing about books and covers.