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Reviewed by Susan Sewell for Readers' Favorite
The disappearance of the Chief Financial Officer for a marketing firm has her best friend searching for clues to her shrouded past in the intriguing mystery, Crystalline Crypt by Mary Coley. Jenna Wade has been living a lie for twenty years. Those who are closest to her are not aware of her true identity or background. Today, Jenna received a note from a boyfriend who played a prominent role in her buried past; he wishes to see her and wrote instructions for a time and place to meet. Despite the summer rainstorm beating down on her, Jenna leaves her office and hurries out to meet up with him. However, before Jenna reaches their meeting place, she spies a horrifying painting of herself portrayed in an art gallery window very near her destination. Alarmed, she turns around and frantically retraces her steps. After returning from her terrifying mid-afternoon excursion, Jenna calls Mandy, her co-worker and best friend, into her office and relates her distressing discovery. Although Mandy thinks the portrait is a coincidence and nothing to worry about, she leaves work early and searches for the art gallery showing the picture. When she discovers the painting really does bear an uncanny resemblance to Jenna, Mandy is perplexed and disturbed. Things become even more alarming when the art gallery is bombed. Mandy tries contacting Jenna, but her attempts are futile. Jenna's office and home are empty, and her phone has been disconnected. Jenna has vanished. Can Mandy unravel Jenna's mysterious past before it is too late?
The Crystalline Crypt by Mary Coley is a fascinating amateur sleuth mystery filled with twists and turns. The disappearance of one of the main protagonists holds the reader spellbound until the disclosure of her enigmatic and traumatic history. The story begins well, and with some action-filled scenes, it continues to pick up momentum into the last third of the book. Here the characters' personalities become more focused and established, and the convoluted plot escalates to a climactic denouement. Although there are some instances of unfinished business for the reader to determine on their own, assumptions between characters that are not quantified, and one of the antagonists is never fully introduced, characterized, or captured, it is an entertaining book that will satisfy those who enjoy amateur sleuth mysteries. Aside from a few mild references to violent assaults, it is a perfectly clean novel with an enjoyable storyline.