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Leave No Trace By Mindy Mejia

Leave No Trace‘Leave No Trace’ is the second book by Mindy Mejia and it’s just as dark and compulsive as her previous novel called ‘The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman’.

Ten years after a boy and his father went missing in the wilderness of Minnesota’s Boundary Waters, the boy – who is no longer a boy – walks back out of the forest. He is violent and uncommunicative. The authorities take him to Congdon Mental Institution in Duluth, on the edge of mighty Lake Superior. There, language therapist Maya Stark is given the task of making a connection with this boy/man who came back from the dead. But their celebrity patient tries to escape and refuses to answer any questions about his father or the last ten years of his life. In many ways he is old far beyond his years; in others, still a child. But Maya, who was abandoned by her own mother, has secrets, too. And as she’s drawn closer to this enigmatic boy, she’ll risk everything to reunite him with his father who has disappeared from the known world – but at what cost to herself?

The book is primarily seen solely through the narrative of Maya Stark, a speech therapist at a psychiatric hospital who has been give a new patient called Lucas Blackthorn, a violent and non-responsive young man who came out from the woods one day, ten years after him and his father disappeared. He’s unresponsive and refuses to answer questions, so Maya is brought in to help him and two of them form an unlikely bond and kinship as they have more in common than neither of them realise. There are occasionally perspectives from Lucas and his father and these insight provide an interesting slant to the story.

Along with her patients, Maya is a troubled young soul who never got over her mothers disappearance and has regularly tackled her own demons and mental issues, she provides a relatable voice to her patients with her kind and gentle nature. Right, from the outset it’s obvious that she has had issues in life and those are revealed as the story progresses shocking not only the reader of the book but also supporting characters in the story. Even though Lucas, is also troubled it is hard not to feel empathy for the young man, after living in the woods for 10 years, he’s scared of the world and the new found celebrity status that is suddenly bestowed onto him as well as his concern for his father, the man he had to leave behind in the woods and that he so desperately wants to get back to.

Lucas and Maya trust each other, where people see volatility and unrest, there’s a quiet friendship brewing between the two as they begin to trust each other and find out they have more in common, than they could have ever imagined and when Lucas begs Maya to help him, she puts herself and her job at risk.

The book is a cleverly written tale that is vividly written and atmospheric from the very first page. Filled with drama and shocks throughout and underlined with tension that makes for a gripping ending. With relatable characters tackling real life issues, ‘Leave No Trace’ is a thrilling and occasionally gory story about mental illness and the major impacts that unanswered questions can have on our lives.

You can buy Leave No Trace from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Last Act Of Hattie Hoffman By Mindy Mejia

The Last Act Of Hattie Hoffman‘The Last Act Of Hattie Hoffman’ is the thrilling new book by Mindy Mejia.

Eighteen-year-old Hattie Hoffman is the brightest star of her small town – until she is brutally murdered on the opening night of her high school play. Set across eight months before and after her murder, we flick between three narrators, Hattie, her high school English teacher Peter and local town sheriff Del Goodman, to find out what secrets this small town is hiding and what really happened to Hattie Hoffman.

For the last 24 hours, my head has been stuck in this book, it’s amazingly written, cleverly seen from the perspective of the victim, potential suspect and the police officer investigating the case and with these three very different narratives made for absolutely brilliant reading.

In the beginning of this story, we meet Hattie, she’s an aspiring young actress, who dreams of threading the boards on Broadway, but her dreams are cut tragically short when she is brutally murdered. The story begins on the night of the murder and then the following chapters, mix between both the past and present as her murder is investigated.

Hattie, is a confident young woman, she enjoys nothing more than stepping into character and begins to find over time, she is unsure of who the real Hattie is. But then Peter Lund steps into her life, as the new English teacher and she finally finds her true self as they embark on a secret relationship. Peter is unhappy in his life, he’s moved back to the small town as his mother in law is unwell and his wife Mary, wants to be close to her and be her carer. Feeling isolated and alone, their marriage becomes strained and Peter finds himself attracted to Hattie, a sharp and witty young woman who shares his passion for literature. Their relationship is fun and tentative, but also forbidden as they try to keep their feelings secret.

The story flashes back and forward between the narrative of the pair of them as they try to ignore their feelings towards each other and to when they finally give in. Whilst Sheriff Del Goodman, a gentle man who knew Hattie as a child is determined to find the killer of his friends daughter. His narrative in the story makes for interesting reading as he investigates the case, piecing clues together to find the killer.

An atmospheric psychological thriller that made for genuinely thrilling reading. The lead character is both likeable and unlikable in equal measures but also relatable in the fact that she is a small town girl wanting to escape to the land of opportunities. Riddled with twists and turns and a never ending list of suspects. A tragic love story with a cruel twist, ‘The Last Act Of Hattie Hoffman’ is an absorbing story that was impossible to put down.

You can pre-order The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 9th March 2017.