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Daughter of Mine by Megan Miranda

Daughter of Mine

by Megan Miranda

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Quick take

A small-town sheriff’s daughter inherits more than a house when her father passes away, leaving behind secrets aplenty.

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When Hazel Sharp, daughter of Mirror Lake’s longtime local detective, unexpectedly inherits her childhood home, she’s warily drawn back to the town—and people—she left behind almost a decade earlier. But Hazel’s not the only relic of the past to return: a drought has descended on the region, and as the water level in the lake drops, long-hidden secrets begin to emerge…including evidence that may help finally explain the mystery of her mother’s disappearance.

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Daughter of Mine


The drought started in the West. We watched on the news as the waters dropped in the reservoirs and lakes, and their secrets and ghosts slowly emerged. The Great Salt Lake was suddenly in danger of disappearing, threatening to release the toxic dust hidden at the bottom. Skeletons surfaced from the edges of a shrinking Lake Mead—in barrels, in boats, bare bones scattered on a dried-out shoreline. Missing persons, finally found. Unknown crimes, suddenly uncovered.

We watched from the safety of our enclave on the East Coast, where freshwater rivers cut down the mountain, sustaining our lake, our community. We watched from our living room couches, with lush forests of trees right outside the windows, the promise of the green North Carolina landscape. We thought ourselves protected, immune.

It came here on a delay, like everything else—the latest fashions, high-speed internet.

And then slowly, the rotted wood beneath the docks became visible, soft and black. Boats were raised up into dock houses, or anchored farther out, where they drifted back and forth like ghost ships in the night.

We were told not to water the grass, not to launch a boat onto the lake from Gemma’s Creek, not to worry. Even as more things slowly started appearing: branches and trunks, reaching out from the surface; sunken beer bottles wedged into the newly exposed mud.

In the West, there were the bodies. But here, we were less flashy, less prone to drama and sensation. We preferred our crimes quiet, our cases closed—that was my father’s motto. He was the last of a dying breed, I thought. A detective who got no shot of adrenaline from either the chase or the justice. So very different from the craving of my youth: Give me a wrong, so that I may punish.

So when the drought finally arrived, I supposed it was fitting that the first thing to attract attention was not a body or a barrel or a bone. It was something quieter—something we didn’t understand at first.

Quieter, but no less dangerous.

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Why I love it

When a close family member or other loved one dies, so many events tend to accompany it. Secrets are revealed, inheritances are passed down, tenuous relationship bonds dissolve. So I am always interested in books that follow the wake of these kinds of losses; they have so much built-in suspense. In her latest novel, Daughter of Mine, Megan Miranda carefully unpacks one such death to twist-filled and riveting effect.

After the death of her father—the longtime sheriff of Mirror Lake—Hazel Sharp is drawn back to her childhood home, which she inherits. The house and town are a bit worse for wear. Drought has begun to plague the area. And as it finally dries up all the nearby lakes, many long-hidden local secrets are revealed. These revelations begin to make Hazel wonder if she might be able to finally unravel the mystery of her mother’s disappearance. As she investigates, she must navigate the town’s prickly residents and the sense of foreboding that looms in the air.

This book is deeply atmospheric. You will be able to visualize every nook and cranny of Mirror Lake and each page will give you a case of the heeby jeebies, which, let’s be honest, is what we come to thrillers for ultimately. I bow down to Ms. Miranda; she’s written another impeccable spine tingler.

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