When Time Is A River is Book #2 in the Winston Radhauser mystery series and is set in Oregon.
The story revolves around the kidnapping of two year old Emily, whilst at the park with her older sister, Brandy. In the subsequent investigation, Brandy is determined to play a major role in finding Emily, especially after both her parents blame her for the disappearance.
This is a believable story with a surprise outcome. Set in 1999, the lack of cell phone use for all the communication brought home just how quickly technology has advanced, though I must say that cell, or mobile phone use was fairly widespread by 1999, so I did wonder if some allowance should have been made for this.
Brandy is the lead character. An aspiring actress, she veers between angry teenager, caring sister and, later, a super sleuth. Emily has a promising early role and is characterised as a very intelligent two year old; she has several complex-themed conversations punctuated with toddler mis-pronunciation. However, I wasn’t convinced they were all necessary and thought that the long build-up to the ‘main event’ had room for slimming.
This is written in a relaxed style, but I yearned to get inside the character heads and make a connection and I wanted to see Detective Radhauser shine more, through the narrative.
Sadly not my favourite book by this author; my hope to be grabbed by the characters and taken on an edge-of-my-seat ride fell short.
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On a bench at the edge of the Lithia Park playground, someone is stalking two-year- old Emily Michaelson as she plays with her eighteen-year old half-sister, Brandy. The child’s laughter curves through the sunlight, as if on wings. The stalker is more enamored than ever, but aware of Brandy’s vigilance with Emily, knows a kidnapping won’t be easy. Planning to gain Emily’s trust, the stalker gives her a necklace—little girls love pretty things. A few days later, Brandy and Emily arrive at the park for the Children’s Health Fair. When the stalker sees them enter the public restroom, the opportunity is seized.
Not long after Emily’s disappearance, Detective Radhauser finds her rainbow- colored sneakers in Ashland Creek, their laces tied together in double knots. Brandy’s father and stepmother blame her for Emily’s disappearance. Radhauser feels sorry for Brandy, but insists she stay out of the investigation. Brandy can’t do that. She is obsessed with finding out who took her little sister, and why. Will Emily be found in time?
About the author
Susan Clayton-Goldner was born in New Castle, Delaware and grew up with four brothers along the banks of the Delaware River. She is a graduate of the University of Arizona’s Creative Writing Program and has been writing most of her life. Her novels have been finalists for The Hemingway Award, the Heeken Foundation Fellowship, the Writers Foundation and the Publishing On-line Contest. Susan won the National Writers’ Association Novel Award twice for unpublished novels and her poetry was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies including Animals as Teachers and Healers, published by Ballantine Books, Our Mothers/Ourselves, by the Greenwood Publishing Group, The Hawaii Pacific Review-Best of a Decade, and New Millennium Writings. A collection of her poems, A Question of Mortality was released in 2014 by Wellstone Press. Prior to writing full time, Susan worked as the Director of Corporate Relations for University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona.
Susan shares a life in Grants Pass, Oregon with her husband, Andreas, her fictional characters, and more books than one person could count.
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