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21st Birthday: A young mother and baby daughter go missing (Women’s Murder Club 21)

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When young wife and mother Tara Burke goes missing with her baby girl, all eyes are on her husband, Lucas.

The woman is certain that something bad has happened to her daughter and granddaughter, and her son-in-law is to blame.

Detective Lindsay Boxer vows to protect a young woman from a serial killer long enough to see her twenty-first birthday.

The prime suspect is Tara's husband, but he tells a conflicting story that paints Tara as a wayward wife, not a missing person. I enjoy when they meet at Susie's for some beer and food to discuss over a case, which this time is a serial killer who targets women and children. This novel -- 21st Birthday -- was soooo awful, in writing, pacing, plotting and just plain enjoyment (or lack thereof) that I wanted to put it down several times and forget it.While there, things get dangerous for Boxer and her temporary partner, as they corner the elder Burke as he works his magic on a young woman. It will take all members of the Women’s Murder Club working together to solidify the truth, however murky and convoluted it might be. I get what we are supposed to think happened, but in the rush to wrap things up after the final twist, we don’t get a major plot point from earlier in the book explained. That changes, and she starts investigating what appears to be a serial killer at work, even as Tara and her baby are still missing.

She learns that Burke may have been stepping out on his wife with a teenage student, which does raise an alarm. The defendant had been accused of past violence, the defendant had holes in his timeline, the defendant had a mistress, the defendant had his fingerprints on the murder weapon…. While I am coming to see that some of these series may have lost their earlier momentum, there are moments of brilliance here, even as things wane. When a young woman and her 16 month old baby were found murdered and washed up to shore, the husband is the main suspect.I kept asking myself how many times is Suki going to be thrown into courtroom drama involving the case of the decade or century? Worst for me was that through the whole of the first half of the book, it was obvious there wasn’t enough evidence that Lucas was the killer. Decent characters, believable scenarios, and the trademark connection to a specific number from the title, this is a series that has lasted over the years.

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