by Therese Heckenkamp
Baltimore: Publish America, 2003
Part of being a book reviewer is having an open mind about whatever may happen to cross your desk. When "Past Suspicion" by Therese Heckenkamp crossed my path, my first thought was "What have I got myself into?" First of all, it was a mystery - certainly not my usual genre of choice. In addition, it was written when the author was only eighteen. Determined to give it a fair chance, I opened the first page and dove in. I'm happy to report that I was very pleasantly surprised!
The first chapter tells of Tiffany, who wakes up in a hospital in 1979 suffering from amnesia after having a terrible accident. The remainder of the book focuses on Tiffany's daughter Robin, sent to live at her uncle's home in Wisconsin after her mother dies. Robin is on the cusp of turning eighteen and is determined to get out of Wisconsin and get back to her home in California as soon as possible. But, her plans to be a short-timer take a detour when she is drawn into relationships with two young men as well as into the mystery of what actually happened to her mother when she was young.
"Past Suspicion" is a compelling story. I found myself eager to find out what would happen next and how the mystery would play out. While I had a sense of what might happen, there were definitely some surprises! The book also includes a great deal of teenage angst as Robin tries to sort out her feelings for the two young men and decide what her future should hold. While it would definitely be enjoyed by any mystery-lover, I think this book would make a great young adult read. This is a very good first novel and I would be very happy to read other works by Heckenkamp.