The Homecoming by Alan Russell

It’s every parent’s worst nightmare. You wake up to get the kids to school to discover that one of your children is gone. No sign of a break-in or any disturbances. But, for the Pierce family, the nightmare is a reality. After a bonfire on the beach, the Pierce family returned home. Early the next morning, their 7-year-old daughter, Stella, had simply vanished.

An enormous investigation was launched. No clues except dead ends. While the family struggled to move on with their lives, the lead investigator continued to follow each lead no matter how obscure. Things appeared hopeless. Stella was gone. Just as abruptly, 7 years later, Stella reappears.

Although elated, the family is shocked. Of course, Stella is grilled as to her whereabouts. Her answer? She’s been with the Travelers – a group of extraterrestrial explorers. Thinking she’s traumatized, they try everything to get Stella to tell the truth. What the don’t realize is the truth is stranger than anything they can handle. So, where has Stella been & what exactly happened to her?

I was highly anticipating reading this one. The synopsis was intriguing and it was listed in my preferred genre (mystery/thriller/suspense). I feel completely let down. I’d heard great things about Mr. Russell. His writing style/talent isn’t the issue. The book was the issue.

It started off perfectly. I was drawn in, cared about the progression of the case, etc. What I didn’t anticipate was the fact that the book should have been categorized as paranormal or even sci-fi. My initial belief was that it would progress as the synopsis hinted. Stella’s return would be plausibly explained.

I was wrong. If you’re thinking of reading it, please note that. If sci-fi mystery is your bag, then you’ll enjoy this book. It is not my bag and perhaps the mischaracterization of the plot caused me to have a chip on my shoulder towards the book. Regardless, I was disappointed in the ending as well. I felt completely let down.

The bright spot in it was Detectve Cheever. He was a fantastic character & would have been much more appreciated had he been given a real case to solve. For me, I give it a 3 star rating. Again, YA romance ( which also takes up a huge piece of the book) fans & those into sci-fi, paranormal, will probably have an entirely different opinion. Mr. Russell is quite talented and could’ve have crafted a much better story.

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