No Stone Unturned by Jeanette A. Fratto

unturnedReviewed by Douglas R. Cobb

Part love story, part a novel of starting over, and part a compelling, page-turning tale of mystery and suspense, No Stone Unturned, the debut novel by Jeanette A. Fratto, is one you won’t want to put down. It’s told from the perspective of the first-person narrator, Linda Davenport, who leaves behind her old boring life and her old job as an English teacher in Michigan when she’s offered a new job in California as a copy editor of children’s books for Grenville Publishing. She meets a woman on the plane trip, Carol Alder, who is very friendly, and is a probation officer in California. They hit it off, and later, after they meet and go shopping together and eat at an Italian restaurant in Brentwood, Carole suggests that Linda would make a good probation officer, herself.

“Orange County is heading for a real hiring frenzy in the next few months. They need good people. People with backgrounds like yours.”

Linda’s career seems to headed in a different direction, though. She has moved into a huge house that she shares with its owner, a very nice older woman named Edith, and Edith’s cook and maid, Charlotte. Edith’s told her that if she wants, she can even eat meals with herself and Charlotte, because she always buys too many groceries and often there’s too much to eat and a lot of it gets thrown away. Also, Linda’s new job is within easy walking distance, so she doesn’t have to think about getting a car anytime soon.

Everything is going fine for Linda, but she sometimes reminisces about her days in college, and her boyfriend then, David Wyndham, how much they loved each other, and what caused their eventual breakup. Their split was due to the demands David’s controlling parents put on him, and to their displeasure that their son wasn’t interested in a young woman from a higher social class. David’s father told him that after graduation, when he joined the same law firm as his father, he’d have to work long hours. Then, when his father suffered from a heart attack, David had to work that much harder, and time seemed to get away from him and he and Linda lost contact with each other. His promises to write her were empty ones.

When Carol’s car plummets off of a treacherous curvy road, the Ortega Highway, and Carol dies in the crash, it’s devastating to Linda. Carol’s brother, Gregory, contacts Linda and tells her that he thinks the car wreck wasn’t an accident, and he asks to meet with Linda and talk about it. Linda is dubious at first, but comes to believe that Carol’s death might have had something to do with a Grand Jury hearing going on, and missing adult case files of criminals involved dealing drugs.

The subsidiary Linda is supposed to begin working for as a copy editor gets bought up by a larger company, and there is no longer a job opening for her at Grenville. Linda decides to try to go through the lengthy and arduous process and testing required to become a Probation Officer, seeing it as both a new and interesting career path since her copy editing job fell through, and also as a way to investigate further into Carol’s death and help Gregory find out who, if anybody, was responsible for his sister’s car crash.

No Stone Unturned involves Linda Davenport’s efforts to leave no stone unturned in her quest to discover who was behind her friend Carol’s death. Her investigation takes her to the houses of dangerous probation violators, and eventually she begins to put together more and more pieces of the puzzle. She reunites with her old boyfriend, David, who is overseeing a local drug program funded largely with the Wyndham’s money. But, will she be able to complete the puzzle, or will she become the next target of whomever was behind Carol’s death? Check out No Stone Unturned, Jeanette Fratto’s brilliant novel full of rekindled romance and plot twists and turns today to find out more!

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