She’s Gone! is a 168- page novel by Lorena May about the guilt and doubt of a mother surrounding the disappearance of her daughter, Cassandra. Shea’s doubt about Cassandra’s disappearance is the doubt about who took her. There seem to be many possible suspects. Shea’s guilt stems from her own doubt about whether she really loves her daughter. Cassandra was cute when she was born but the “cute” factor got old when Ben and Shea took Cassandra home. How could one baby scream so loud and so long? With Shea always working at the office long hours to establish himself as a lawyer, Shea had to deal with the problem 24/7 by herself. The pills she was taking for postpartum depression allowed her to sleep, sometimes right through a screaming session. Shea occasionally tried other more physical things to stop the baby’s screaming. She didn’t really throw Cassandra that hard or that far.
Pills seemed to be the best solution but sometimes she would “lose time.” She could not remember or relate to how long she had been asleep. One day she awoke on the floor of a closet after a long, undetermined sleep session to find Cassandra gone. She called husband Ben, the two called the police and the search was on for who had taken Baby Cassandra. The police, as usual, began to look at all those around and close to the family.
Husband Ben had put up with the lengthy postpartum depression of Shea. Had he taken the baby and placed her somewhere for safekeeping while he tried to nurse Shea back to a condition of no depression and no drugs? Or had he hidden Cassandra somewhere while he planned where to go with the baby and Moira, a law partner, former classmate, and possible lover? Maybe that was why Ben was working late all the time.
Shea’s sister, Alyssa, had always taken care of Shea. A devoted religious adherent, she mentioned to Shea that maybe Cassandra’s abduction was all in God’s hands. Now maybe Shea would return to the happy sister Alyssa remembered. Had Alyssa worked as an agent of God to spirit Cassandra away?
Diane was Cassandra’s next-door neighbor and frequent babysitter for Cassandra. She liked children but had none of her own. Did she like Cassandra too much?
Kyle was a boarder in the Anderson home. He rented one room as a place conveniently close to his social worker job. As a social worker, he could see the pain Shea was in as she dealt with depression, drug, and a screaming child. He was frequently in the home to comfort Shea when Ben was away. Which was all the time. Did he comfort her a bit too much? And did he kidnap Cassandra, secreting her away somewhere to aid Shea in her recovery? Gentle Kyle was an enigma for Ben, who saw signs of physical intimacy between Kyle and Shea, an intimacy that did not cross lines but, as far as Ben was concerned, went too far.
Detectives Darby and Mel did not rule Shea out as a possible engineer of the abduction. Shea might have been tired of the incessant screaming. But if so, where was the body? There were few clues. A neighbor saw a car. Another neighbor saw someone in a green jacket. And then there was the murder Shea had committed when she was ten years old.
There are even more distractions as Shea begins to find clues. There is a green jacket at her friend’s house. There is a piece of jewelry Cassandra always wore found in Ben’s car. Shea’s own repressed memories sew more doubt in her mind.
This is a four-star read at a low price of USD 0.99. A fast read with a slight twist at the end, I believe most readers of crime fiction will like this. Little to no sexual language and with nothing related to violence, it is a safe read for YA and above.