Jessica's Past Undone

Bruce Von Stiers

Jessica Shaw is a P.I. She doesn't have a set office or even office hours. She moves around the country, seeking out potential clients and unusual cases. But when someone anonymously sends her a photo of a missing child, Jessica gets thrown into a mystery that has chilling effects on her own past.

That's pretty much the opening to Thin Air, the debut mystery novel by Lisa Gray.

Jessica's life changed quite a bit when her father died. She did a bit of this and that, finally settling in on becoming an investigator specializing in missing persons. But when looking for the next potential client, Jessica receives an email. That email included a photo of a missing little girl. But that was impossible, because the girl in the photo was Jessica herself.

The little girl had disappeared from Eagle Rock, a lesser known L.A. extension town, wedged between Glendale and Pasadena. Her curiosity a little more than peaked, Jessica goes to Eagle Rock to try to find some answers. Who was the little girl, really? Did she have a family? What happened that she ended up missing? Was there something sinister in the disappearance? The more Jessica uncovers, the more questions pop up.

In the meantime, there is the murder of a young woman. The police detectives are having a hard time trying to find a motive for the murder, let alone who killed the young woman. But what does the murder have to with Jessica's hunt for the truth about the missing little girl?

This is a mystery novel with quite a few twists and turns. You might think you've got if figured out, then the author brings in something new to the mix. People turn out being not who they were thought to be. There are lies wrapped around secrets compounded by more lies that build on other secrets. As Jessica delves further into things, the past becomes even murkier and seamier than she could ever imagine.

The author, Lisa Gray, has written about Scottish soccer and other sports in the U.K. for several years. Before writing Thin Air, Gray had no previous experience writing fiction, let alone a mystery thriller. But she did have a short stint as a book columnist for a national newspaper. That experience, along with Gray's love of books by Michael Connelly, Karin Slaughter and Lee Childs, laid the foundation for this debut novel.

A few of the plot elements in Thin Air were pretty easy to follow and figure out. But as with any good mystery thriller, there are several surprises in the novel that you probably won't see coming. Thin Air was a great start to what's sure to become a sterling mystery thriller series.

As I write this, Lisa Gray, has written a second book in the series, titled Bad Memory. I can't wait to read it too.

Thin Air can be found at your favorite book retailer.

If you'd like to learn more about Jessica Shaw and her creator, visit

You can also find Lisa Gray on Facebook at and on Twitter at

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© 2020 Bruce E Von Stiers