06 July 2011

Just finished reading...

Whose Hand? by Judith Yates Borger.*

Journalist Skeeter Hughes is the quintessential single working mom. She has two daughters aged nine and 14 and is separated from her husband, Michael. One might even call her typical, if her job didn't include dumpster-diving and being threatened by criminals.

Skeeter works for the Minneapolis Citizen, and as this book begins, she is meeting with a retired veteran called BJ, who claimed to have caught a human hand while fishing in Lake Harriet the previous October. At first Skeeter is skeptical; this is February, and the man shows all the signs of being a drinker. But after listening to his entire story, her instincts tell her to believe him.

When she returns to her office, she learns that has just been appointed the paper's first Missing Persons reporter. On her first assignment, she is given the names of three missing people: Pace Palmer, a nurse who hadn't returned from vacation; Yuri Yudeshenka, a retired furrier; and Amber Thomas, an eighteen-year-old girl. Perhaps the hand belonged to one of them?

Skeeter is dedicated and persistent, and though she's uncertain of the veracity of BJ's story, and has very little to go on in the missing persons cases, she knows how to dig. Knowing the precariousness of being a journalist these days, she is determined not to provide any reason to be considered expendable.

Borger has created a strong, likeable, and very believable protagonist in Skeeter. She has an amazing hand with descriptions:

I studied the crags in the old man's wind-burned face. His gold and silver hair was pulled into a ponytail at the nape of his neck, leaving his bald head open to the elements. The ragged collar of a black T-shirt peeked through the v-neck of a dirty blue-green sweater with a run in the left sleeve. Nicotine had stained the dirty fingernails on the left thumb and forefinger he used to grip his ceramic coffee mug.

This is not the only Skeeter Hughes novel; it's the sequel to Where's Billie? (2009). Hopefully, there will be a third volume in the series soon.

*FTC Full Disclosure: Many thanks to the author, who sent me an e-book for review purposes.

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