The Halo Effect: A Novel
By Anne D. LeClaire
Lake Union Publishing
One October morning, Will Light, a renowned artist in Port Fortune, MA is making breakfast for his wife Sophie and their fifteen-year-old daughter, Lucy. Life couldn't be happier for this close-knit family until everything falls apart when Lucy doesn't return home from school that evening. The Light's know their daughter to be respectful and responsible; not the type to take off without notifying them. A search commences, and several days later Lucy's battered body is found in the woods.
Will and Sophie are heartbroken and drift apart. Will no longer has the desire to work at his craft and finds solace for his grief and anger in liquor. Sophie quits her teaching job and moves out of the family home. Even Rain, Lucy's best friend sinks into despair and cannot stop herself from performing nightly rituals of checking door and window locks seven times. When her mother discovers she is cutting herself, she insists sending her to a psychiatrist, though it's against Rain's wishes.
Father Gervase approaches Will with the Bishop's decree to commission him to compose portraits of saints for a newly constructed cathedral in Boston. Will wants no part of this. His only focus is on finding his daughter's killer and getting revenge. Sophie pleads with him to take the assignment, which he does, and before long Will's rage dissipates as he immerses himself in his project.
Months pass with no clues to Lucy's murdered, and tension builds with many hints alluding to the perpetrator, yet the real culprit is totally unexpected. The descriptive prose and well-developed characters rule this tale about anguish and loss. Fast-paced and highly emotional, The Halo Effect offers a sustaining message.
Nancy Lepri, ReaderToReader.com