Black Friday - the official opening of the Holiday Shopping Season and Patrice Marcum is stuck in the middle of her local superstore with a crying infant, a near hysterical desire to just abandon the diapers and milk she desperately needs, and the snowstorm of the century dumping a half-foot of snow on the parking lot outside. She needs a miracle.
The little old lady seemed sweet, but there was no way Patrice was going to leave three-month old Jeremy with a stranger. She looked outside at the snow-covered parking lot and saw yet another distressed shopper’s cart topple over in the drifts. The old lady sensed her distress and volunteered to call a store employee to help watch over Jeremy while Patrice got her car. The older gentleman, wearing a store badge with the name “Ron,” seemed too good to be true. What could be safer?
Less than five minutes later, after brushing the snow off the van and driving across the crowded and snow-packed parking lot, Patrice pulls up in front of the store. Jeremy is not there. Pushing back panic, she rushes into the store and looks around. Jeremy is not inside either. She pushes through the line at Customer Service, the associate calls Ron on the intercom, and issues a Code Adam. When Ron appears and he’s only seventeen years old, Patrice realizes the worst. “Oh God! They’ve taken my baby!”
Back in April I reviewed the first Mary O’Reilly story Loose Ends by Terri Reid. I really enjoyed it and gave it a great 4.5 stars. Now there are five novels in the series and I decided to treat myself to the second instalment.
Good Tidings is a fantastic follow on novel, written in the same fast paced, character driven style as the first. We see Mary and Bradley investigate the kidnapping of a baby from a mother at a busy superstore while being surrounded by Christmas shoppers. This opening scene gripped me from the start as it described the mother’s fear and panic so well and as a parent I could empathise with her in every way. As with the first book the subject matter of Good Tidings could have led to a dark brooding story but in the hands of Terri Reid and her cast of lovable characters the story remained light, upbeat and enjoyable. Once again there is nothing new to the genre here and the plot doesn’t throw any real surprises your way. This is a feel good novel that will brighten up your day, not darken it.
Terri Reid has a wonderful skill in writing character inter-play that just carries you on from one page to the next. I managed to fly through this book in just two sittings. Don’t attempt to read this book if you have something else that needs doing because time will just slip through your finger with this story in your hands. You will find yourself totally engrossed in the storyline and characters. This book is so easy to read that you engage with it within minutes.
The relationship between Mary and Bradley develops well and the inclusion of Mary’s family brings a new depth to her character. The supporting cast feels well rounded and gives plenty of opportunity for the author to show her talent for understated humour. For me the star of this book was Mary’s client, who just happens to be a ghost. I won’t reveal who the client is but I will say they are the most heart warming uplifting aspect of that tale. The ending is something of a cliff hanger that leaves you wanting to read the next in the series straight away.
This second novel confirms my belief that Terri Reid is an under-rated author who deserves much more recognition. Her stories are incredibly enjoyable to read and leave you wanting more every time. I have been told that her third instalment (Never Forgotten) is a little darker and to my mind that may improve the series a little. Giving the Mary O’Reilly tales a bit of a darker edge without taking away from the existing characters would push them in my mind from great novels to something close to perfection. We will have to wait and see as I have plans on reading/reviewing all of Mary O’Reilly’s adventures. I award this an excellent 4.5 stars.
Good Tidings is available from the DarkissReads Bookshop