Released: October 2017
Reviewed by: Jane Stockwell
“Search for Maylee” is a contemporary thriller that centers around the disappearance of a young woman, Maylee, through the eyes of her aunt Autumn.
Set three years after Maylee’s abduction, the story picks up when Autumn has managed to acquire a potential lead after Maylee’s irresponsible, unlikable mother Candace drops a shred of information about the whereabouts of her ex-partner, Craig. Craig had been strongly indicated in the disappearance of Candace’s daughter under the specter of human trafficking, but never convicted.
The story is compelling and you quickly find yourself identifying with Autumn and her plight to locate her niece. The police detective who investigated the case, Chance, is an immediately obvious love interest with the character’s physical attractiveness and Autumn’s mixed feelings about him laid out early in the story.
Throughout the book there is an abundance of heavily muscled, trim and fit secondary characters to appeal to a female audience. The sexual tension between Autumn and Chance built slowly and the single sex scene in the story was not overdone or crude.
Time is taken to establish the context and characters, but the pace picks up suitably and doesn’t feel like it bogs down. We watch Autumn slowly evolve from a woman who has been helplessly stuck in her search for her missing niece into a capable, confident woman who surprises herself with what she is able to achieve.
The bad guys are dreadful and you want them to meet a sticky end, especially the sleazy Alex. The main villain Craig is mostly absent from the story, but this seems reasonable with his status as one of the higher ups in the human trafficking ring. When you do finally meet him, you are willing him not to recognise the undercover Autumn. Some of the secondary characters like Jeremy, Lloyd and Aiden play their parts in the story, however they are not very detailed and could be almost issued God status with their glowing goodness and rippling bodies.
While we understand fiction is, well, fiction, there are times when I stopped and thought, “This just would not happen!” Given the gritty explanations of unsavoury characters, Autumn is casually placed in far more danger than would ever be acceptable to a real police team trying to break apart a human trafficking ring.
Having said that, once you suspend disbelief, the finale is suitably fast-paced and exciting. I read with dread as Autumn put herself in even more danger trying to get to the villain, willing her to listen to the directives of Chance and the team of police officers undertaking the raid on the bad guys’ lair of which she was a part.
I felt that the story ended a little abruptly, especially given the unexpected outcome for one of the major characters. It could have done with a brief post-amble informing the reader of how everything turned out after we had spent the entire book investing ourselves in the characters and the lead up to the dramatic, traumatic finale.
I enjoyed the story very much, but the occasional spelling, grammatical and typing errors interrupted the flow and were a little distracting. At least to me, who is somewhat pedantic about such things. A careful editor would have picked up these kinds of minor issues and the result would have given the book that final polish.
Overall, “Search for Maylee” is a compelling thriller with interesting characters and engaging plot. I would not be surprised to see the character of Autumn reprised in a different story as a continuation of her evolution from helpless aunt to capable pseudo-detective and champion for young women ensnared in human trafficking. Even with the few small flaws in editing, “Search for Maylee” is a solid entry in the genre of contemporary thrillers.