by Kay Hooper

July 1998
ISBN: 0-553-57185-0
Reviewer Graphic Button Bantam Books
Mass Market Paperback

Laura Sutherland has always had an unexplainable obsession with mirrors – it’s not that she’s vain, in fact, she rarely looks at her own image in the mirror but is looking for something she cannot name but that she is sure she’ll know when she finds it. So when her best friend, Cassidy, asks Laura to accompany her to an estate sale at the infamous Kilbourne mansion, Laura cannot pass up an opportunity to perhaps find the antique mirror she has been searching for. Laura does indeed find a mirror and she also consequently finds herself as a prime suspect in the murder of one of the Kilbournes.

When Peter Kilbourne appears at Laura’s door the very day she purchased the mirror at his family’s estate sale, offering to buy it back from her, she is perplexed. Despite his persistence, she feels an inexplicable pull towards the mirror and refuses his overly generous offer. The next day when the police inform Laura of his murder and the fact that she is suspected as being his killer, she is baffled and not a little frightened. Laura is doesn’t believe that the mirror has anything to do with Peter’s murder, but that being the only connection she had with him, she hires an investigator to find out it’s history. She also decides that in order to clear her name, she will have to do a little research of her own, which takes her to the Kilbourne estate.

Upon arriving at her alleged victim’s home, Laura doesn’t expect to be welcomed with open arms, but neither does she expect the strange undercurrents between her and Peter’s brother, Daniel. She is even more astonished when the oldest and most respected member of the family, Amelia, requests Laura to paint her portrait and practically live with them. Despite feeling uneasy and even a bit scared, Laura agrees since she feels it will be the perfect opportunity to find out more about the Kilbourne family and perhaps even uncover Peter’s murderer and, as a result, clear her own name.

Laura finds herself drawn to Daniel in much the same way she is to mirrors. There is no reasonable explanation for the way she feels about him, but it is strong and undeniable just the same. To make the situation even more difficult, Daniels appears to feel the same way about Laura and they are soon involved in a secret love affair, which is sure to shock the family if it becomes known. After all, Laura is suspected of killing Daniel’s brother – he shouldn’t be sleeping with her!

Laura soon learns about old family secrets and scandals and of the other violent, strange deaths the Kilbourne family has suffered. When “accidents” start becoming more and more frequent at the Kilbourne mansion, Laura is afraid she just might be a target herself. Whom can she trust and even more importantly, can she trust any of them – including Daniel?

The characters in Finding Laura are not in short supply and in the beginning it can be hard to keep track of just who is who, but soon they all become individuals with their own quirks and personalities. Unfortunately, because there are so many characters, the leading ones, Daniel and Laura, might not be as complex as they could be. I felt that especially Daniel’s character could have been a bit more well-rounded, although his mysterious ways were most likely necessary to keep the reader guessing as to his true motives.

While the identity of the murderer in Finding Laura is surprising, it is somewhat unbelievable and there are no clues leading up to this discovery to give the reader any indication of whom it may be. Not that I like to be able to figure out who the killer is early on in book, but I feel as thought it should at least make sense and fit in with the rest of the storyline. Despite that criticism, Finding Laura was intriguing and kept me turning the pages.

I found the storyline surrounding the mirror more interesting than finding Peter’s murderer. Its history is touching and poignant and the entire novel could have been dedicated to it and I would have been a happy reader. Kay Hooper fans will be pleased to find Finding Laura in keeping with her recent style of writing – romantic suspense with just a touch of the paranormal.

Reviewed in May 2002 by Nicole.

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