By Brianna Labuskes
As an eight-year-old child, Gretchen White was found at the side of her murdered aunt’s body holding a knife and splattered in blood.
Boston Police Detective Patrick Shaughnessy was there that night. He’s had his eye on her ever since.
Now, Gretchen has a doctorate in psychology. She’s well-aware that she’s a sociopath. But years of therapy and training have allowed her to keep her impulses on a tight leash and given her coping skills that help her fit in.
Heir to her late grandmother’s wealth, she doesn’t need to work. But being a consultant for the Boston Police Department stimulates her mind and feeds her taste for violence vicariously.
Three months before this novel opens, Gretchen was involved in a case similar to her own. Thirteen-year-old Viola Kent had been accused of stabbing her sleeping mother to death. Gretchen’s investigation proved she was innocent. Viola vanished soon after her release. Gretchen, better than most, knows it’s only a matter of time before Viola turns to violence for real.
Ever since, Gretchen has been depressed, drinking too much, clubbing and bringing strange men home that she can’t stand to see in the morning.
Detective Lauren Marconi of the Boston Police Department’s Major Crimes Division believes that Gretchen needs a new case. And she has just the one: Gretchen’s own; the murder of her aunt, Rowan White.
Gretchen has always been told — primarily by Shaughnessy — that she killed her aunt. Gretchen herself has no memory of the events of that evening.
What if, Lauren asks, instead of listening to other people, you investigate this case from the start; the way you would if you were consulting for the Boston Police Department?
This is a creative set up for an unusual mystery. Gretchen is already an interesting character established in Brianna Labuskes’ book, A FAMILIAR SIGHT. This sequel is Gretchen’s — and Shaughnessy’s — origin stories. The contrast between the two gives this story depth and tension. The result is suspenseful, startling and full of unexpected twists.
What makes Gretchen such a compelling character is her self-awareness and self-restraint. She could easily be a criminal. But unlike those she investigates, Gretchen doesn’t give in to impulse or a desire for violence. She controls her dark side and puts her considerable knowledge, experience and training to work serving the community.
Although this is a sequel, it isn’t necessary to have read A FAMILIAR SIGHT to enjoy this book. However, it will be harder (if not impossible) to enjoy the first book, if you read WHAT CAN’T BE SEEN first.
A third book in the Dr. Gretchen White series, SEE IT END, is due out in April 2023.
The Author: Brianna Labuskes
A former editor and reporter, Brianna Labuskes’ first novel was a Regency romance. But when an idea for a psychological thriller grabbed her and wouldn’t let go, she wrote IT ENDS WITH HER.
She enjoys that genre for allowing her to explore the dark side of humanity and at the same time find the light within it.
She has recently written a historical novel, THE LIBRARIAN OF BURNED BOOKS, due out in 2023. It is based on the true story of the Council of Books in Wartime, a World War II organization founded by book sellers, publishers, librarians and authors to use books as “weapons in the war of ideas.”