All Good People Here is a terrific murder mystery that will leave you guessing until the end (and then some). The novel follows crime reporter Margot Davies as she pieces together the connection between a recent child abduction and a 25-year-old murder.
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In the beginning of All Good People Here, Margot returns to her hometown of Wakarusa, Indiana to take care of her uncle / father figure Luke, who is suffering from early onset dementia. Margot’s newspaper employer reluctantly agreed to let her work remotely, but Margot is on shaky ground with them. Her work has been suffering because she’s been so worried about Luke.
Soon after she arrives to stay with her uncle, news breaks that a child has been abducted from a playground in a nearby town. Margot is immediately taken back twenty five years to the sensational murder of her little friend and neighbor, January Jacobs. The crime has shades of Jon Benet Ramsey – a little girl inappropriately dolled up for competitions, heavy national attention, suspicion that her family was somehow involved, and a murderer never identified.
Despite some pretty significant differences in two cases, Margot is convinced that January’s murderer has struck again, two and a half decades later. That obsession plus an incident with her uncle that makes her late to the police news conference result in her writing a news article that gets her fired from her job. With expensive bills to pay. Margot vows to spend the next two weeks investigating the crimes so that she can write a groundbreaking article that will get her back in the newspaper world.
As she digs into the case, she discovers a tangled web of deceit. In a series of historical scenes, we also see things from January’s mother’s perspective, who thought she was doing the right thing but just made matters worse. The suspense builds as Margot is followed by a mysterious woman, receives ominous notes, and discovers misleading clues.
Overall, I liked All Good People Here (the title refers to the small town of Wakarusa, which is portrayed as provincial and gossip-y. That’s right, Notre Dame friends, she dissed Wakarusa.). The characters were developed well, especially Luke, whose progressive slide into dementia was heartbreaking. I also liked that the novel included the story of January’s mom, which made me wonder what I would have done in similar circumstances. How far would I go to protect my family?
There were also multiple crimes in All Good People Here, which gave me a lot to think about. This type of complexity is what I value in a good mystery novel. Not everything was obvious and straightforward, so that once Margot figured something out, it wasn’t over – there were still additional mysteries to solve. Although not very long, there’s a lot of meat in All Good People Here.
My only complaint is that it ended in a cliffhanger where Margot is in peril, but we don’t know the outcome. This leads me to believe this might be the first book in a series. “Read book two to find out how Margot escaped from the clutches of the bad guy…” That’s okay. I would read the next book.
If you’ve read All Good People Here, I’d love to know your thoughts. Also, what was the last good mystery you read?
3 thoughts on “Book Review: All Good People Here by Ashley Flowers”
I don’t read mysteries very often, but you make a compelling case for this one! Thought it sounds like if you read this first book, you are probably in for the sequel. I wonder how long it will be before the next book comes out…? I have been deep in to the Three Pines books by Louise Penny for the past year – binge reading the first 17 books in about 6 months. I recently finished the 2022 book – A World of Curiosities – which may be the best so far. But I was very sad to learn that she is not issuing a new Three Pines book in 2023. We will have to wait another year…
Sounds intriguing Michelle! I will have to put it on my list but I must admit, I really like mystery novels but not so much for the series. I hate knowing going in to reading a book that the outcome will likely not be complete. Ughh. I guess I just like closure?!
You make such a good case for this book! I put it on my reading list. I like mysteries with good character development. I’ve only read 2 this year: The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman (funny and many plot twists) and Sweet Little Lies by Caz Freer. They are both set in England and both involve facts that stretch across generations. I think the Osman book is going to be a movie by Steven Spielberg??