Tuesday 22 November 2022

Book ~ "Wonderland" (2015) Jennifer Hillier

From Goodreads ~ Welcome to Wonderland. By day, it’s a magical place boasting a certain retro charm. Excited children, hands sticky with cotton candy, run frenetically from the Giant Octopus ride to the Spinning Sombrero, while the tinkling carnival music of the giant Wonder Wheel - the oldest Ferris wheel in the Pacific Northwest - fills the air. But before daybreak, an eerie feeling descends. Maybe it’s the Clown Museum, home to creepy wax replicas of movie stars and a massive collection of antique porcelain dolls. Or maybe it’s the terrifyingly real House of Horrors. Or maybe it’s the dead, decaying body left in the midway for all the Wonder Workers to see.

Vanessa Castro’s first day as deputy police chief of Seaside, Washington, is off to a bang. The unidentifiable homeless man rotting inside the tiny town’s main tourist attraction is strange enough but now a teenage employee - whose defiant picture at the top of the Wonder Wheel went viral that same morning - is missing. As the clues in those seemingly disparate crimes lead her down a mysterious shared path of missing persons that goes back decades, she suspects the seedy rumors surrounding the amusement park’s dark history might just be true. She moved to Seaside to escape her own scandalous past but has she brought her family to the center of an insidious killer’s twisted game?

Vanessa was a police officer in Seattle and recently moved back to her hometown of Seaside to take on the role of deputy police chief.  On her first day on the job, she is called to Wonderland, a tourist traction that keeps the town alive, because the a decaying body, nicknamed Homeless Harry, has been found under the ferris wheel. That's the same ferris wheel Blake, a Wonderland employee, climbed last night and took a selfie and posted on social media before he disappeared. And the security guard didn't show up for work. Are they connected? As Vanessa investigates, she discovers many secrets have been covered up by the police chief, the former deputy police chief and the town. Since she's new in town, she doesn't have the same loyalties and she's determined to find out what's going on.

I've read other books by this author and I thought this one was okay. It is written in third person perspective with a focus on where the action was. I wasn't crazy about the "whodunnit" at the end and thought the reason of why they did what they did wasn't realistic. I found the allure of Bianca, the CEO of Wonderland, unbelievable that she could attract and get pretty well EVERY man who worked there. As a head's up, there is swearing and violence.

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