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REVIEW: What Sarah Saw by Margaret Daley

Dear Ms. Daley,

what-sarah-sawModern methods of crime solving fascinate me. I admit I’m a real life CSI junkie and can watch a whopping amount of cable shows which explain how law enforcement officials crack a case. The description of this book

The only witness when a single mother mysteriously vanishes? Her three-year-old daughter. FBI agent Sam Pierce needs to question little Sarah. Yet child psychologist Jocelyn Gold will barely let him near the girl. Or herself. The tragic conclusion to a kidnapping case broke Sam and Jocelyn apart years before, and their hearts still haven’t healed. But for the child’s sake-‘and her mother’s-‘they must join forces to uncover just what Sarah saw.

caught my attention. A child psychologist who gets to solve a case with the clock ticking? Bring it!

I am fascinated by the whole idea of working with children to open up their memories about things they’ve seen, especially when it might solve crimes. The scenes in which Jocelyn works with Sarah and the other children to solve this crime held my attention while not raising any red flags of WTFery.

But I wanted to know how Jocelyn could be angry with herself for not helping quickly solve the earlier case on which she worked with Sam yet still willing to not push Sarah, even a little bit, to get the information the authorities suspect Sarah has. Jocelyn is constantly ripping herself for not saving the earlier child but then snaps at Sam that she can’t rush Sarah even though it’s Jocelyn’s BFF whose life might be at stake. As the days tick by, I couldn’t help but think, “time’s a wasting here.”

Sam angsts too much and I question whether or not the FBI would let him work in a unit that specializes in what he angsts about. Perhaps I’m wrong but an agent still torn up over what happened to him would not seem a stable person to work with the exact type of crimes that still haunt him.

Sam wants Jocelyn, Sam pushes her away. Sam diverts her attention from his background by giving into kissing her then he pushes her away. Meanwhile, Jocelyn wants Sam but despairs that he will ever open up to her. So, she lets him kiss her and invites him over for coffee many times as well as cooking homemade meals for him. Be firm Jocelyn so he knows how you feel. /sarcasm

Jocelyn has her own load of guilt and is quite ready to blame herself for a lot of things. For cases that went bad, for not getting children to open up to her and tell what they know, for her friend Leah’s disappearance. Jocelyn is to blame for it all. So she thinks. Can a therapist carry this weight on her shoulders and still do her job? Did she get no counseling or teaching in how to deal with the inevitable failures that will occur in her profession?

Sam puts a lot of pressure on and asks a lot of Jocelyn. Not only her work with Sarah and the other children involved in that case but also watching almost all his interviews with the locals and watching surveillance tapes as well. Is there anything he thinks she can’t do?

The Lord works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform so I guess He can use an alligator to get His people together if He wants. We are talking about Louisiana swamp country.

Jocelyn has slowly, like pulling teeth, gotten one of her child clients to start to tell her about his grief over his mother’s death. But it’s been weeks and they’re still no closer to getting a breakthrough. But in one miraculous afternoon, with the help of the above gator (who really ought to get secondary starring role status) and Jocelyn spilling her guts about her own mother’s death and her feelings about it, – THUNDERCLAP! – we have a solution.

Then, in the same afternoon, Sam finally also tells Jocelyn everything he’s ever ducked and dodged her questions about AND asks her to marry him – and make it soon please. Sigh, no I don’t believe in it. The man is too tightly wound about this and if anyone knows they should move carefully, I would think it would be Jocelyn.

So here we have me frustrated that the mystery is going to continue for a good long time yet amazed at the breakneck speed with which two issues are resolved in one day. Go gator.

And then Sam is willing to be interrupted while processing a crime scene to search for Jocelyn’s child client? Really? I mean, a missing child is always important but this is a crime that might help solve the other suspected/known murders and missing person cases. And he’ll just drop it? Can’t the town deputies and chief of police not pitch in here?

I knew this was part of a series, but didn’t realize that the books wouldn’t be stand alone but rather a part of a long 6 book story arc. I would have liked to have had at least one of the many crimes that have occurred actually be solved in this book. Instead, I got zip. I plan on reading more books in this series but I hope the payoff for each book is more than I got with this one. C

~Jayne

This book can be purchased in mass market from Amazon or ebook format from the Sony Store and other etailers.

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

4 Comments

  1. DS
    Mar 28, 2009 @ 16:22:04

    I’m a CSI junkie also but this does not sound like anything I would find interesting at all. While I don’t mind long story arcs, there had better be a mystery payoff in each book. One mystery at least should begin in the book and is resolved in the book, there can be other strands that can go from book to book. There was a very interesting series about a prison psychologist that I remember reading a few years ago.

  2. Jayne
    Mar 28, 2009 @ 17:39:55

    One mystery at least should begin in the book and is resolved in the book, there can be other strands that can go from book to book.

    Exactly! Give me something to work with here, people. Perhaps the rest of the books have a better payoff now that so many unsolved issues were raised in this first in the series. We’ll see…

  3. LynnS/AAR
    Mar 30, 2009 @ 13:02:36

    I agree with you on the lack of payoff in this book – though I did get hooked into the series just because I wanted to see what the heck was going on. I’ve been following these, and you definitely get new clues in each book as well as seeing some of the mysteries get solved(or at least some of the suspects get eliminated). So far, Book 3(Cold Case Murder) is my favorite. The books are a little uneven, but I’ll probably still finish the series just so I can find out the solution to the main mystery.

  4. Jayne
    Mar 30, 2009 @ 15:18:16

    The books are a little uneven, but I'll probably still finish the series just so I can find out the solution to the main mystery.

    I figured since they’re written by different authors, this would be the case. And I’m also interested in continuing to read the series to find out what happens.

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