We gave it a C+
Things just got really messy for North Carolina Sheriff’s Deputy Dwight Bryant, whose terrified 8-year-old son, Cal, calls him in a panic after his mom (and Dwight’s ex-wife) disappears into the chilly night air with nary a word. Then Cal himself goes MIA, sending Dwight on a harried hunt for answers. (His second wife, judge Deborah Knott, also elbows her way in to provide assistance.) It’s not a bad setup, but the resulting 324 pages of Winter’s Child are far from original. Margaret Maron writes in a crisp, undemanding style familiar to anybody who’s plowed through a Mary Higgins Clark novel, her characters dim the suspense by speaking in helpful — but rudimentary — sprays of revealing dialogue, and mystery aficionados will figure out whodunit far sooner than they’d like.