Murder Fractures Even a Perfect Life
Bestselling author Loreth Anne White uses a true crime as the underpinning for her newest thriller, THE PATIENT’S SECRET.
“My story is inspired by a horrific true crime that occurred in my region of the world in 2006, when my youngest daughter was the same age as some of those involved,” she says. “As a mom, it was an event that burrowed into my psyche, and it lingered. Those connected with the crime are dealing with the repercussions to this day, and I asked myself, what if? What if you met someone with ties to this kind of past, and you didn’t know it? While the fictionalized backstory of my novel echoes the unfolding of the actual events, I moved the timeline to work with my fictional characters and my premise.”
In the novel, Lily and Tom Bradley live in idyllic Story Cove, just north of the US border in Canada. They have what seems to be a perfect life. Lily is a psychotherapist, and Tom is a college professor of abnormal psychology whose “intellectual passion is twisted minds.” Their 12-year-old daughter, Phoebe, sports pink hair and heavy eye makeup, and eight-year-old Matthew is a budding investigative journalist who takes “candid” pictures of everything and everyone. He “is like the National Geographic eye on Story Cove, the safe neighborhood with hidden secrets.”
But their lives unravel when someone murders a local woman, leaving her dead on the beach, the crime exhibiting the same facts as the unsolved “Jogger Killer” murders.
The same morning, before anyone knows of the murder, Tom goes on an early run in a thunderstorm and returns bloody. His unusual behavior terrifies Lily. Routine and order hold her life together. “Her kids are her world,” White says. “She will do anything to keep them safe.”
Detective Rulandi (Rue) Duval takes over the case, soon discovering that she has ties to the murdered woman. As her investigation continues, it’s obvious the victim had inserted herself into the lives of the Story Cove residents, including Lily and Tom.
Read the rest of my review and interview in The Big Thrill.