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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

REVIEW: The Mystery of Hollow Places by Rebecca Podos

Imogene Scott knows little of her mother except for carefully plotted bedtime stories told to her by her bestselling medical mystery writing father. How they met: her father, a forensic pathologist, her mother, a mysterious woman coming to identify a body. She left when Imogene was merely a baby, leaving her daughter to know that her mother was a lost soul, possessed by loneliness and "troubled waters."

Now 17, Imogene has grown up with her mother's absenteeism as well as learning to navigate her father's own sometimes crippling depressions. When he disappears mysteriously, neither Imogene nor her stepmother know where to find him. Convinced he's looking for her mother, Imogene decides to use her detective skills compiled from a lifetime of reading her father's books in order to track him down, but also find the answers to many of her own questions.

There's a great maturity and layered presence to this novel with appeal to a variety of audiences.  On one hand, this is a good mystery. Someone is missing, there are a plethora of questions about said missing person and other events and the protagonist sets out to solve the puzzle and essentially save the day.  On the other hand, this is certainly a story about exploring identity and coming of age. Imogene searches not only for her parents but also for her sense of self, how her childhood has shaped who she is and what all this might mean for her future.

I enjoyed this book. It is well written with developed characters. I particularly liked the pacing. As a reader, there is a drive to continue on so that you too can find Imogene's mother and the whereabouts of her father.  I loved the ambiguity but also the sense of hope at the ending.

Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Follow the author on Twitter: @RebeccaPodos

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