Sara Putnam has spent the last two years searching for her biological father, Howard. When she finds him murdered, she has even more questions. As she starts her own investigation, she meets Howard’s eccentric, co-inventor partner, his ex-wife and their son who calls his mother “the bank,” plus an assorted cast of suspects. She also has to deal with her adopted mother’s roadblocks, her crazy roommate’s problems, sexual harassment at work and her best friend’s strange illness. Sometimes quirky, sometimes serious, Sara’s Search, as one reviewer said, will keep you flipping those pages.
Excerpt from Sara’s Search
The door was ajar, so Sara pushed it the rest of the way inward and entered the apartment. The stereo blasted, and clusters of people–drinks and food in hand–stood about, talking, gesturing, laughing. Across the room, the New York City skyline twinkled through the huge picture window.
Sara edged inside and began eavesdropping–her favorite party occupation.
“I never watch TV myself,” a tall, thin, thirtyish woman told her companion. He was fat, forty and funny-looking.
“Not Johnny? Letterman? How about CNN? The Discovery Channel?” She shook her head after each question. “Well,” he told her, turning away, “I need to find someone who saw Donahue yesterday. I have some serious questions about that show.” The anorexic was left standing alone with Sara. The woman looked around, then headed quickly toward another group.
Sara followed her deeper into the living room, found the bar, and asked for a Vodka Collins. While waiting for her drink, she heard a man say, “Hey, pretty lady.” The guy looked to be at least fifty, old enough to be her father. And drunk. He weaved as he stood there. Always polite, Sara smiled at him and tried to edge away. She didn’t want him to touch her. She’d always had an aversion to drunks.
“Where did you come from?” the man asked, breathing heavily into her face. At this rate, she wouldn’t need a drink herself. She could get high on this guy’s fumes. And she didn’t know how to answer his question. She came from outside, from her office, from New Jersey, from her mother’s womb.
“Where’d you come from?” he repeated, slurring his words even more, and swayed. But, surrounded as they were, he couldn’t fall down. She could imagine him, out cold, propped up by the crowd, going from one group to the next, no one noticing unless someone asked him a question.
“I’m from New Jersey,” she told him.
“Ah, I could have guessed. That sleek look–lovely brunette hair, soulful brown eyes, pretty face and good figure.” He winked and she blushed.
“Thank you. Where are you from?”
“Brooklyn. Brooklyn, can you believe? Lived there all my life.”
“Here’s your Collins,” the bartender told Sara. She thanked him and sipped it gratefully. “Oops,” she told the drunk, “I see someone.” She raised her hand in a wave and made her way quickly through an opening.
Behind her she only heard, “–your name,” but she hurried on, like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland. She needed to find her friend, Belinda, hostess and therefore the cause of all this chaos.
Let me start this review by saying one thing, what a book! Slow at the start, this read picked up with such a pace I had to run to keep up.
The story’s main characters are two women, Sara and Belinda, who have been friends since childhood.
Sara is adopted and at the onset of the story her adopted father has died, causing Sara to have a hunger to know who her true parents are. Little did she know that her father,an inventor, was also looking for her. Attending a party given by Belinda ,Sara is made very uncomfortable by a drunken man who is following her around. Upon leaving the party, Sara finds the drunken man dead on the staircase and when he is identified she learns, to her horror, he is her father. His untimely death only complicates Sara quest in her search for her identity and now she must find answers to the mystery that is wrapped around the murder of her father.
Belinda is married to a wealthy doctor and has been overcome with an unknown illness. Stricken in the prime of her life she battles a foe that is baffling countless doctors. Both women are thrown into a quest to solve a mystery; one the murder of her father, and discovering her heritage, the other, the reason for her depilating sickness.
It has been a long time since I have been so drawn into a storyline, but this book did it, keeping me up at night reading to find out the answers.
I had to know what was making Belinda so sick, and I had to know who killed Sara’s father before she even had a chance to meet him . The suspects were never-ending and each character that you were introduced to seemed to be more guilty than the last. Outstanding!
Here is the good part, the author weaves the two mysteries together in a way you would not believe. You would think, just hearing the storyline, that having two separate mysteries going on would only throw confusion into the story, but somehow the author took you back and forth in the read keeping your interest peaked to the highest on both counts. Great job! That is the mark of a writer who knows their craft.
I was relieved to finally know what had been attacking Belinda’s body,
and the final outcome revealing the killer of Sara’s father was so shocking, I am still surprised thinking about it. I would have never guessed, never!
This is one of those books that you don’t want to miss. Great storyline, deep shadows of mysteries, adventure, real life drama and very believable characters. Highest recommendation possible!
Midwest Book Review
For the past two years and against the strong wishes of her adoptive Mother, Sarah has been searching for her biological father. With her biological Mother dead, her biological father is the only one to have answers to questions that she has and so far she has been unable to find him. That is, until she stumbles across his dead body in a stairwell outside a party she had attended.
In a strange twist of irony and fate, her father was the drunken man who seemed to be staring at her all evening a she followed her from room to room in the spacious penthouse home of her good friend Belinda. Sara hadn’t wanted to talk to the man but his gaze followed her everywhere she went. She had no idea why he was following her as she tried her best to avoid him as well as a few of the other more unappealing party guests. His death, at the hands of a murderer, ended any chance for reconciliation and explanations.
Faced with the prospect of never knowing her father while he was alive, Sarah begins to poke at his past through the people he knew. In so doing, she begins to antagonize his family, which is secure in the belief that she could not want anything else but a share of his inheritance. Sarah wants and needs something far more important than money and as she digs, she begins to uncover clues that put her on the trail of her father’s killer.
At the same time, beset by problems at work, Sarah is also confronted with the progressive illness of her good friend, Belinda. What began as a possible a case of the flu has steadily worsened with symptoms that baffle her doctor husband as well as others in the medical community. While a possible killer disease is ravaging her good friend, Sara’s life is being ravaged by a killer bent on stopping her snooping once and for all.
If you have read Jan Christensen’s short stories then you know what to expect. Interesting characters, strong storyline, and tight writing are hallmarks of her work. The same is true here in this very enjoyable debut novel and hopefully just the first novel of many to come.
I had originally planned for this to be my `vacation book’, as I am going on a cruise, and wanted to be sure I had something fun to read. I decided to sneak a peek at the first chapter, and from then on I was lost. I’ve finished the book and haven’t even left for the vacation yet. What a great and satisfying read! The heroine, Sara, caught and held my interest from the start. Her `real life’ was rather mundane, like so many folks, work, home, shopping, and then……a party. That’s where it all begins for Sara. From that point on, Sara’s life is in turmoil, it’s one surprise after another. The characters associated with Sara are believable and for the most part, rather amusing. Even though this is a mystery novel, it has a degree of comedy about it as well. Mainly because Sara is so very level-headed, and those around her often are not. She’s very pragmatic in her dealings with them, though, as she continues her search for information about her biological father, albeit post-mortem, as she’s just found him murdered at the above-mentioned party. Sara’s best friend, Belinda is stricken with a condition causing much consternation because it’s so difficult to diagnose, and could easily be mis-diagnosed. This is a real and rare condition that should be brought to the attention of everyone, and I admire the author’s way of working it into the storyline. The twist at the end of the book left me shaking my head, I never would have guessed it. For a debut novel, author Jan Christensen really outdid herself. I’ve read a few of her short stories, and I’m glad she’s branching out. She’ll be on my own personal best-seller list from now on. I’m definitely a fan!
I love books with more than one storyline, and Sara’s Search has two. One is Sara’s search for the murderer of a man she finds stabbed after a party at her best friend’s house. Who was the man, and why did he look at Sara as if he knew her? As in every good mystery, there are quite a few suspects, and each has a different reason for wanting the victim out of the way. The second storyline is a medical mystery. Sara’s best friend has a strange illness that not even her doctor husband can pinpoint. I won’t give away any more of either plot because I dislike when reviewers do that. Read Sara’s Search. I guarantee you’ll learn some things you didn’t know before, and isn’t that the mark of a good book? Highly recommended.
This book was so much fun to read I could not put it down, and I read it straight through in two sittings. The characters are captivating and believable, the action is non-stop, and the story is filled with surprises. I was sorry when it ended and continue to think about the characters. I’m hoping for a sequel!
It came as no great surprise to Sara when at the age of 10 she was told by her father that she was adopted. She had never felt that they were a family. She was told just the bare facts of her adoption. When her father Marsh died, Sara felt that she had to find the facts of her real parents. She felt that with only her mother Lucille she had little in life.
She attends a party given by her best friend Beth, and her doctor husband, Blinky. There she is made uncomfortable by a man who looks familiar and who keeps following her around. On leaving the party she stumbles on him dead on the staircase. She discovers that he is Harold Lundquist, her father, who has been looking for her.
Sara must find the answers to the mystery surrounding the murder of her father. This search leads to becoming acquainted with his eccentric inventor partner Ira, her half brother Kevin, and her father’s second wife. She pressures her adopted mother for more details about her adoption, her birth mother and her relationship with Howard Lundquist, This results in startling revelations which explain much of their previous relationship.
Further complicating Sara’s life is her roommate Eileen, who insists on redecorating their apartment every few months and has an unhappy sex life. Then there is Bernie Puntz, somewhat connected to the owners of the firm for which she works. He is harassing her.
Added to her worries is her best friend Beth. They have been friends since childhood. Now Beth who is married to a wealthy doctor, is stricken with an unknown illness which baffles a team of doctors and has been difficult to diagnose. Both women have to solve their mysteries: Sara the reason behind the murder of her father, and Beth the reason for her debilitating sickness.
This plot combines two separate mysteries which are blended together, keeping interest constant. The characters are believable. Sara is portrayed as a level-headed sensitive woman with a desire to get her life in order. The devotion between the two friends is heart-warming. The reader feels the frustration of Beth’s search for the reason for her illness, hoping that it had nothing to do with the breast transplants for which her surgeon husband was responsible.
There are moments of humor throughout especially the experiences Sara has with telephone calls. How many of us have been frustrated by the voice mails routing calls with the ‘press one’, ‘press two’ with no human contact?
This is a great story having no explicit sex, no gratuitous violence and no adult language. It is a pleasant, easy read.
I really enjoyed reading Jan Christensen’s novel – I read it sometime ago and never got around to posting a review for this wonderful book. It is a captivating story that will entertain you. It is well written with strong characters and good dialog.
I found that the book was better than I expected. The plot is different and it takes you along on this mysterious journey in seach of the truth. Lots of suspects and lots of twists.
It’s a terrific book. Lots of action. The characters, setting, and plot are all good — and I didn’t guess the perp! I’m hoping for a sequel………
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