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Reviewed by Patricia Reding for Readers' Favorite
Having read and enjoyed the first in The Dr. Pepper Hunt Mystery Series, I was happy to have the opportunity to read the next installment, On a Quiet Street by J. L. Doucette. Characters that quickly charmed me in the earlier tale were present once again. Most notable is psychologist Dr. Pepper Hunt and investigator Beau Antelope. I was pleased to find a growing friendship between the two as they set out to investigate the murder of Stacey Hart, the fiancée of Connor Collins, an attorney in the local DA’s office. The investigation into Stacey’s murder uncovers years of secrets that Connor and Stacey’s brother, Max, kept about events that transpired at the hands of a parish priest when the boys were young children. But some secrets have a way of sneaking up and surprising people in unusual ways and at unusual times, just as they do in this case.
It seems that the key to the success of J. L. Doucette’s tales is that Doucette carefully crafts the connection between personal relationships and mental health, and between mental health and potential negative behavior, including possible criminal behavior. Doucette also shows how differently people respond to tragedy, and how their life experiences play into their reactions. On a Quiet Street is set out against the molestation scandal that rocked the Catholic Church some years ago. Yet Doucette is not disrespectful of the institution at large, nor does she paint all affiliated with the church as equally responsible, as is witnessed with Doucette’s inclusion of Toni Atwell, a former nun who is the first to share details that help to solve the mystery at hand. Throughout the story, Doucette carefully weaves in the history of the characters and the kinds of secrets people try to keep so as to protect themselves—and sometimes others—and the reality of how those secrets often come with unexpected costs.