I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
The disappearance of a young woman sends a state trooper and the police department on a hunt to unravel the mystery of her disappearance and discover whether her husband has sinister motives author T.L. Hughes’s “Parts Unknown”.
It was Monday, December 28, 1959. Twenty-five-year-old Mildred Walker Torpey had mysteriously disappeared sometime between midnight and the first light of dawn. The day’s newspaper headlines boasted nothing out of the ordinary. A surprise storm with blizzard-like conditions had pummeled the working-class mill town the night before, followed by freezing rain in the early morning. No one saw or heard anything. Most didn’t even realize she was gone.
Within her circle of family and friends, Millie was known to run off with other guys for weeks at a time, but according to her, she ran purely as a means of survival—to stay clear of her hot-tempered husband Pat.
Norby O’Conner, a local and a lieutenant with the Massachusetts State Police, knowing both the woman and the shifty behavior of her abusive husband, takes immediate interest in Millie’s disappearance, suspecting murder. As the weeks turn into months with no sign or word from Millie, Norby and the local police turn up the heat on Pat. But every time he’s taken in for questioning, Pat’s a cool customer, to say the least, especially with Millie’s floozy reputation and no body to be found. What follows is an unraveling of the events that led up to that night as seen through the perspective of the three main characters, Norby, Millie, and Pat in an ultimate showdown of good versus evil.
This was a well-written and captivating thriller. The detailed writing style really helped bring the setting to life, capturing that small-town life in an era when small towns were worlds unto themselves. The chilling way the story’s murder mystery aspect plays upon the way small-town America, especially those living in poverty or near-poverty lifestyles, helped to elevate the setting of this novel.
The character development was truly top-notch in this novel. The toxicity of the relationship between Millie and Pat and the way they view one another was greatly explored using multiple POVs, and the haunting nature of the crime itself was shocking and tapped into some gothic themes that brought the Edgar Allen Poe vibes that the story emanated. The slow burn of the mystery aspect of the story helped to draw the reader in and the way each layer was peeled back during the investigation in connection with the character development was mesmerizing to behold.
Thoughtful, captivating, and twisted yet engaging, author T.L. Hughes’s “Parts Unknown” is a must-read suspense thriller and mystery read that you won’t want to put down. The twists and turns in the narrative were great, but the true heart of the story rested in the rich character development that not only drove the story forward but spoke to an era that was not the sitcom-perfect life that people believe it to be, but instead was an era of survival and isolation, making this a story you won’t be able to turn away from. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today.
About the Author
T.L. Hughes was born in Salem, Massachusetts and was educated in Lowell public schools. Influenced by the writings of Jack Kerouac and others, and after graduating from the University of Massachusetts, he took to traveling the U.S. and Europe, eventually settling in Southern California where he lives today. Other than writing, some of his passions include listening to Jazz, Blues, and Rock and Roll music and learning how to play the saxophone. His latest novel, Parts Unknown, is T.L. Hughes’ third novel and his first crime novel.