Family Secrets (Whispering Pines #1) by Shawn McGuire

Family Secrets (Whispering Pines Mystery #1)Family Secrets by Shawn McGuire

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jayne O’Shae has just arrived in the small, cosy town of Whispering Pines. She’s landed the job of cleaning out her Grandparent’s house after her Grandmother passed away suddenly. Seeing as she’s the only one not currently working due to an awful situation that happened when she worked for the Madison PD, she’s happy for the distraction. Jayne feels that this is the time she needs, to get away from the judging eyes of her family and try and sort herself out. Her plans to stay for just a week in order to sort through things is thrown out the window when her faithful companion Meeka, a K-9 trained dog, comes across a body on the O’Shae property as soon as they arrive. Team this with Jayne discovering that her Grandparents house has been vandalised and trashed, and she realises that a week just won’t do. After finding it hard to put her police nature aside, Jayne finds herself investigating the death of Yasmine Long, the young woman found dead, as well as trying to find out who in their right mind would vandalise the house. This leads her down a road of secrets upon secrets, as well as her finding out that her Grandmother was a practising Wiccan, more questions just keep arising. Who was responsible for the young woman’s death? And why is the local police department not seeming to investigate as thoroughly as they should? While this isn’t turning out to be the relaxing week away Jayne had hoped, it might be just what the doctor ordered.

At first I found Jayne a little bit annoying. Being a police officer, well, having BEEN a police officer, when she first lays eyes on someone, she instantly describes them as an officer would. For some reason, at first, this annoyed me, but as the story progressed I found that it just slipped into the background and became a normal way of describing new characters throughout the narrative. I have to say, it was a clever way to do it as it’s hard to get away from the regular way of describing a new character in a scene without the main character doing a running commentary “The man entered, he was tall, with dark hair and eyes that matched, blah blah blah…” I found McGuire’s way of description succinct, to the point and quite clever. It was possible that it only annoyed me at first BECAUSE it was such a different way of doing it, a way that I haven’t really come across before.

I love Meeka and Jayne’s relationship, SO much. I love that she’s not your standard K-9, she’s a westy and that is SO adorable. I can actually picture her so clearly, along with the various ways that she communicates with Jayne and interacts with her. I feel like there is more to this relationship than meets the eye though. We know that Jayne’s Grandmother, Lucy, was a practising Wiccan, along with the rest of the town pretty much. I feel like as the story progresses through the following instalments, we’ll come to learn that Jayne also has some magic in her, and that Meeka is in fact her familiar. This would explain the inane way that Meeka is so attuned to Jayne’s emotional state, moods and needs. Not to say that regular pets and owners don’t have these connections, it just feels like there’s more to it than just owner and pet. And seeing as Whispering Pines is a magickal community it would make a bit of sense.

I find the setting of the story absolutely charming. Whispering Pines sounds like most wonderful little town, and I sincerely wish that I could visit there, maybe even live there. It would be amazing. The locals sound absolutely amazing, as well as the local shoppes. I love everything about it, and the history that McGuire has given it is awesome. I love how the term “originals” is used for those who settled there first, namely Lucy O’Shae.

I found the characters to be well written. As I said, at first Jayne annoyed me, but as the story progressed, I found that I really warmed up to and ended up enjoying her character a lot. I’ve already expressed my love for Meeka. Morgan is a fantastic character, and it does look like she’ll be a recurring one which I’m glad for. I can just FEEL how much she has to teach Jayne, and I feel like there is going to be one hell of a friendship between the two. I’m intrigued about Donovan, I’m interested in learning more about him and his gift/curse. I’m also really excited to meet Pitch, Morgan’s all black rooster. He sounds delightful!

I would probably put this book under the urban fantasy/cosy mystery heading. That’s what the mystery felt like to me. The mystery itself really well written, I had inklings of the culprit, but was never actually 100% sure until the reveal which, as you all know, that’s what I like. It’s never fun if you work out the whole thing before the character is even remotely near to working it out. It was well thought out, and excellently executed.

I reeeaaaallllllllyyyy want to jump straight back into the story with book two, I really enjoyed this. It was a fantastic first book in a series, opening up the world to us without info dumping and leaving us with enough questions to want to see what happens next. However, I have an ARC that I must get through as it releases in a couple of days. So I may pick up book two after that 🙂

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