When Will the Secrets End?

A Marge Christensen Mystery

Fiction - Mystery - Sleuth
242 Pages
Reviewed on 08/29/2015
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Chris Fischer for Readers' Favorite

In a heart-wrenching and heart-warming read, When Will the Secrets End? by Patricia K. Batta, we find ourselves immersed in the lives of husband and wife Marge Christensen and Pete Peterson and their foster sons, 12-year-old Eric and 11-year-old Benjamin. Marge and Pete are eager to complete the adoptions of the boys and make their family permanent. When Eric's grandfather steps forward and threatens to take custody of the boy, all of their dreams are suddenly put at risk. And when Marge and Eric travel to visit his grandfather and find themselves greeted by his gun, a gun which is later used in a murder, Marge realizes that it's even more important that her family gets closure to finalize Eric's adoption and give him a permanent and loving home. But in order to do that, Marge also realizes that she needs to prove that Eric's grandfather was not involved in the murder he's accused of, and the relationship between the boy and his grandfather has to heal. While Marge is busy becoming a amateur detective, digging through documents and clues, Pete is at home with Benjamin, trying to keep him emotionally and physically safe, as the 11-year-old is convinced he must return to the streets to save his drug-addled mom. Will this family ever have the peace, love and permanence they deserve?

Author Patricia K. Batta has done a masterful job at depicting the challenges that young children in the foster system face, and the love, determination and sometimes sheer will power it can take to parent these children who come to a family with a whole lot of baggage. I truly cared about each of these characters and was still thinking about them after I had finished the book, the hallmark of a well written read. The murder mystery aspect of the book is suspenseful and will keep you turning the pages. I highly recommend When Will the Secrets End? to any reader who enjoys fiction, mysteries, or stories about families going through a struggle. I certainly hope that author Patricia K. Batta is working on another book in this vein, as I would certainly add her name to my list of must-read authors.

Jack Magnus

When Will the Secrets End?: A Marge Christensen Mystery is a private sleuth mystery written by Patricia K. Batta. Marge is en route to Eastern Washington with her foster son, Eric, to visit Eric's grandfather, Alfred Landon. Eric does not want to visit the man, who has done nothing for him as far as he's concerned, but Marge wants to be sure that Alfred will not do anything to prevent Marge from adopting Eric. Eric's father, Jeffrey, had his rights taken away by Child Protective Services when it was apparent he was beating his son whenever he was intoxicated. When Marge and Eric finally arrive at Alfred's run-down house, they are appalled by the reception. Alfred was obviously intoxicated and hostile, and he was brandishing a shotgun. Marge drove at the man in an attempt to protect herself and Eric, and then she was able to make a hasty departure from the premises. When she went into town to report the incident, she marveled at the resemblance between Eric and Carl, the officer in charge at the police station. Carl, it seems, was yet another of Alfred's children, and the story went that Carl’s mother committed suicide after Alfred's cruel rejection of her.

Patricia K. Batta's murder mystery, When Will the Secrets End?: A Marge Christensen Mystery is well-plotted and highly entertaining. I loved the Eastern Washington State setting and appreciated, along with Marge, the huge difference a few hours travelling meant in climate. Marge is an intriguing character who just can't seem to resist the challenge of a mystery, though this time it's personal as she's determined to prove Alfred's innocence for her foster child. Marge and her police officer husband, Pete, are marvelous as the foster parents of two street children, Eric and Benjamin, and watching as the duo works to earn the trust of the two children is heartwarming. I also enjoyed the sleuthing efforts of Marge and Cynthia, the town librarian, as they attempt to unravel some decades-long secrets. This is a well-written mystery story that will have armchair sleuths trying to sort through the tangled relationships and possible murder suspects along with the resourceful and independent Marge. When Will the Secrets End?: A Marge Christensen Mystery is highly recommended.

Tracy Slowiak

In When Will the Secrets End?: A Marge Christensen Mystery by author Patricia K. Batta, we meet loving couple Marge Christensen and Pete Peterson. Foster parents to young boys, Eric and Benjamin, the family has been through a lot, but Marge and Pete want nothing more than to finalize the boys' adoptions and make their family official, once and for all. But when 12-year-old Eric's grandfather, Alfred Landon, a man who has never met the boy, has an objection to the adoption, and in fact makes a move to take custody of Eric himself, Marge takes Eric to visit his grandfather, hoping that she'll be able to convince him that allowing Eric to be adopted by her and her husband will be the best thing for the boy. But when they arrive, they find themselves at the wrong end of a gun, a gun that is later used in a murder. Marge realizes that the only way the family will get closure in this situation is to prove that Alfred wasn't the murderer, and amateur sleuth she becomes. Pete isn't exactly having an easy time back home either, as 11-year-old Benjamin is convinced that his drug-addicted birth mom needs him, and it's all Pete can do to keep him off the streets in his attempts to rescue her. Will this family ever truly be united?

I very much liked When Will the Secrets End?. Author Patricia K. Batta does a fantastic job of treating the issues and intricacies of foster care and adoption, especially of children who are older, with an empathetic and sympathetic voice. Her writing style is fast-paced and exciting and she is deft at creating characters that the reader will truly care about. There were times when I was truly on the edge of my seat while reading this book, and I read from start to finish without a break. When Will the Secrets End? would appeal to any reader who loves mysteries, suspense, stories about fighting for your family, or just a good, quick read. This was the first book that I've read by Patricia K. Batta, but I look forward to reading more from this interesting and upcoming author.