Reviewed by: BigAl
Approximate word count: 55-60,000 words
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A retired High School English teacher, Jon Ripslinger has several novels available for your Kindle and has had more than sixty short stories published in various magazines. After thirty-five years of teaching, six children, thirteen grandchildren, and three great grandchildren, Ripslinger must still love teens, as he continues writing books to entertain them.
For more, visit Ripslinger’s blog.
“Kyle Donovan’s life is shattered when his mother goes missing and his father is accused of dismembering her and dumping her pieces into the Mississippi River. He expects his dad's trial for the crime to solve the mystery, but when it ends in a hung jury, Kyle must make a difficult choice: live with the agonizing uncertainty that’s destroying him and his little sister, Kelly, or find the truth himself, no matter what the cost. Either way, he’ll lose at least one parent, but he might be able to salvage what’s left of a normal life for him and Kelly. Compelled by a desperate need to end the madness that his life has become, and with the help of Becky, one of the only people at school who will still talk to him, Kyle forces himself to follow a string of clues the police missed and struggles to face the terrible truth about his own role in his mother’s disappearance.”
Missing Pieces is a mystery suitable for the older teen, although stricter parents might object on grounds of language or content. Although there is a mystery that the protagonist, Kyle, sets out to solve, I found the psychological and sociological subtext to the story at least as compelling as the mystery. How Kyle and his younger sister Kelly deal with the disappearance of their mother, how the relationship between parent and child is often illogical when viewed from the outside, and the dynamics of a small town, all add significantly to the story. The defense mechanism that Kyle and Kelly have which allows them to envision a happy ending where, at least to me, it was obvious there was no plausible way for that to happen, actually helped drive the story rather than ruin its credibility. My only significant complaint about Missing Pieces are the courtroom scenes near the end, which didn’t ring true for me.
Some adult language and adult themes.
No significant issues
Rating: **** Four stars