Missing the Gate (A Chandler County Novel)


Fleeing her alcoholic father, Bella, age five, and her mother escape Able Manor. She returns at eighteen after her mother dies and is shocked by the condition of the house of which she is now half-owner. She’s aware that she can only trust Eli, a college student home for the summer. Everyone else acts cagily towards her and has secrets they cannot or will not divulge.  Her alcoholic father, now sober, wants to make amends with his prodigal daughter, but she views him with suspicion. While Eli and Bella research what happened to her family, someone pilfers a chunk of vital information and the mystery escalates with murder, poison, and arson.

“Missing the Gate” is constructed of a web of deceit in which all the townspeople are involved. They are a close-knit group, and one gets the feel of a genuine small town when reading this piece. As the newcomer, Bella is on the outside looking in, never truly accepted. Bella’s character is overly dramatic. Eighteen-year-olds rarely have fainting spells, but she has several.  She is also too angry. Even with Eli, she tends to be angry either with him or about someone else. The minor characters lack depth and are there just to flesh out the story. The novel starts slowly, but gains momentum as the tale begins to flow. Ms. Lane artfully captures the essence of a small town and its residents in this exciting tale of treachery and lies in Chandler County.

Belinda Wilson