Author: Mary L Hamilton
Published by: Blue Mist Books
Publication date: Nov 2nd 2017
Elaine Sutterfeld’s teaching skills are surpassed only by her passion for her middle grade students. But she’s never gotten over the disappearance of one of her favorite students–from a field trip Elaine supervised.
Now, years later, Elaine spots Jenny’s distinctive pendant hanging from the neck of another young girl and she vows to find out the truth. But someone else is desperate to keep the truth buried, desperate enough to kill.
When the threats begin to mount, Elaine must decide whether to play it safe or avenge Jenny’s fate, even if it kills her.
Elaine Sutterfeld, retired teacher who lost a student on a field trip, discovers vital evidence surrounding the investigation of the cold case surrounding Jenny Ortiz’ disappearance. Her husband, Roy – a private investigator – picks up the trail, only for things to go horribly wrong and send Elaine across the country into hiding. She must solve the mystery herself from the distance of another state.
Much like Bad Karma, I have had this book secreted away on my kobo for some time but upon rereading a synopsis about it online, I thought it was just what I needed to read and I am happy to say that is was. After the chilling thriller of Bad Karma, I needed something a bit more sedate and while Pendant still had it’s moments, it was a much more heart-warming read. Don’t get me wrong, it’s intense and has it’s moments of heart-stopping suspense, but there were moments in this book where the reader could come up for a nice breath of fresh air amongst the pages of danger.
Elaine Sutterfelds story is one of tragic loss, her job, her husband and her home all being taken from her throughout the novel and you really get a feel for her sense of loss – almost to the point of tears – yet she comes through and makes some wonderful connections. The side characters of the older ladies; Ruby, Jean and Maxine are just wonderful and they really are treasures to read about. I enjoyed them greatly and their individual personalities shone the more I read about them. At one point in the novel I fear that there might be a blossoming romantic side-plot; which would have felt very, very wrong given the circumstances, but I am most pleased to report that this didn’t happen and I cannot praise M L Hamilton enough for making this decision. I admit, I am not really one for romantic side-plots at the best of times (Unless reading a romance story, then it’s kind-of the point) and I breathed a sigh-of-relief when this one didn’t take root.
The main plot of Pendant isn’t at break-neck speed and what I found enjoyable was the intermingling of the main thriller elements of the plot with the slower paced, character development and drama. Pendant is as much heart-warming as it is thrilling and this made for a refreshing change to the harder-going thrillers that are on offer to the reader. The who-dun-it elements to the novel kept me guessing and because the characters are so well built-up, I genuinely held onto fears for their fates. Again, wonderful kudos to the author.
I didn’t realise that Pendant was sold in the genre of Christian Fiction as well as Thriller until I looked up the authors Twitter profile and in hind-sight I can totally see why, but I didn’t feel like it was an overly dominating aspect of the story, just the quirks of some of the characters personalities showing in ways that made them more unique to others. Some people have faith in a higher-power, others don’t and that’s just a part of the world we live in. I found it an interesting aspect of the book and I enjoyed it, but it’s not going to be for everyone and others might find that the Christian angle becomes a bit overpowering and boarders on preach-y.
I don’t know if M L Hamilton has written anything else along these lines – I am aware of her Young Adult Fiction – but Pendant was such a treat to read that it would be a shame if she were to stop here.