Nothing Stays Buried by P.J. Tracy
There’s a search for a missing girl, and another for a serial killer: death holds all the cards . . .
When Marla Gustafson vanishes on her way to her father’s farm, her car left empty on the side of an isolated country road, even Grace MacBride and her eccentric team of analysts are baffled.
Meanwhile in Minneapolis, homicide detectives Gino and Magozzi have a serial killer on their hands – two women murdered in cruelly similar fashion, with playing cards left on the bodies. But one card is an ace, the other is a four – it seems the killer is already two murders ahead.
With both teams stumped, it slowly becomes clear the evidence is inexplicably entangled. And they have little time to unravel the threads: a twisted killer is intent on playing out the deck…
I thought this novel started quite slow, but the pace quickly picked up and it made for epic reading! I was well and truly hooked! I really enjoyed how well written all the characters were!
The prologue opens with local town sweetheart and all around good girl Marla, as she navigates her way to a late night call-out at a farm. Marla has lived a privileged life, and is now a vet in her hometown. Her father Walt tells her often “good things come to good people”. That is until one fateful night she stumbles upon a dead body in a body bag. Only the killer dumping the body hasn’t left the scene yet.
When Marla isn’t anywhere to be found her father Walt, calls the local sheriff Jacob Emmet. The local sheriff and deputies are overwhelmed with the case and have limited experience and technical equipment. They need help!
Meanwhile across Minneapolis, homicide detectives Leo Magozzi, Gino Rolseth, Harley, Annie and heavily pregnant Grace Macbride, are struggling with a bizarre case. The killer is targeting lone female joggers in parks. Killing them via strangulation and leaving a card at the scene. The cards found so far are an ace and four of spades. What is the significance of the playing cards? Where are two and three of spade? Is this the work of a serial killer? Then they are contacted to assist with the case of Marla’s disappearance.
Chief Malcherson is facing the pressure of the media and fear of a serial killer and the threat to the community this poses. He presses the team to work on both cases. Sheriff Jacob Emmet informs the team of his findings, there is DNA at the scene where Marla went missing. It belongs to Diego Sanchez, a Mexican national with ties to the Sinaloa cartel.
What has the cartel got to do with Marla’s disappearance?
As the novel flows we meet Cassie Miller, an undercover FBI agent as a grocery store. Attempting to covertly access her boss’s files. But why are the FBI investigating Global Foods? One thing is for certain Cassie is being watched………
Who stalks the women of Minnesota?
When more bodies pile up with the same MO and the playing card. The team question the significance of the cards. The mob was known to leave an ace of spades on their victims in the prohibition era. American soldiers also left them on Vietcong soldiers to psych the enemy. Why is this killer leaving the cards? Then one of the team recognises which casino the cards come from. Is this the lead they need? The team contact head of security at the Eagle Lake casino, Sammy ‘Junior’ Liman, to check his CCTV and records.
Back at Marla’s we learn more about the young woman whom vanished without a trace. The team investigate every aspect of her life and are stumped. Her father Walt, lost his son in a farming accident and his wife to cancer a year later. The team are desperate to get him some answers! But Walt is not naïve and understand the cruelty the world has.
“There’s no way we can figure this out, I know that. She was in the wrong place at the wrong time and somebody bad and dark either took her or killed her. It happens all the time doesn’t it” – Walt
Marla’s journal references a person called Angel, but Walt claims to not know this person. Who is Angel? How does he/she fit into Marla’s life? There is a moment between pregnant Grace and Walt, where they share a conversation about her having her first child. It is very moving and emotional. Throughout the novel you constantly root for Walt and hope he is reunited with his daughter.
Where is Marla?
When the FBI raid Global Foods and the evidence of cartel links is revealed. The case picks up pace immensely. This novel is exceptionally dark and gripping. I highly recommend for those who enjoy crime with a dark theme throughout! The ending for me was absolutely brilliant, it was layered with tension!
I literally could not put it down! 4.5*
“Thirteen cards to a suit, four suits in a deck, do the math, that’s fifty-two”
To find out more about P.J. Tracy visit the website: http://pjtracy.com/