Have you seen her by Catherine McKenzie

Have you seen her

Montreal novelist Catherine McKenzie was a practicing lawyer for 20 years before she decided to retire from the legal profession and concentrate on writing books on a full time basis. She has penned a number of best-selling mystery/thrillers such as The Good Liar, You Can’t Catch Me, Please Join Us and her most recent release Have You Seen Her.

“For 10 years, I practiced law and wrote books on the side. And then I came to the point where I realized that I was a lawyer for half of my life and asked myself if I wanted to continue practicing law for the next half. And then came the pandemic, and I was going crazy, and that’s when I decided to retire from the law and become a full-time author, which was a less stressful choice for me,” she said during a recent phone interview.

Photograph by Fany Ducharme

Have You Seen Her focuses on Cassie Peters, who decides to abandon her life in New York City (as well as her identity) and return to her roots as a search and rescue (SAR) worker at Yosemite National Park in California, as well as return to live in her hometown of Mammoth Lakes. However, while she thinks that this return would mean an escape from her dark past (including a case that took place at Yosemite 10 years earlier) it somehow comes back to haunt her. And it slowly resurfaces when a couple goes missing during the Yosemite leg of their cross-country road trip. And on top of that, she encounters Sandy and her much younger partner Petal, a couple with a toxic relationship, which is chronicled — along with the goings-on at the park — in great detail in her journal.

To research about the life and adventures of an SAR worker for the book came quite easy for Catherine, as her sister and brother-in-law are SAR workers at Yosemite. “I was lucky to have such direct access to that world. Also, I am a lifelong hiker and backpacker and visited Yosemite on two previous occasions, and that helped to spark the idea for the setting of the book,” she said.

In practically all of her books, Catherine focuses on the premise of a woman who has dark secrets from her past and tries to run away from them, and that is no exception with Have You Seen Her. “I have always written female driven thrillers, with characters that have internal stories, which comes with the territory,” she said. “All people are not always good or bad. But sometimes they come with secrets that can be terrifying to themselves or to people around them.”

Have You Seen Her is filled with plenty of dark personal secrets, thrills, desperate races against time and plot twists that will leave the reader gasping with shock and surprise. And Catherine McKenzie brings this narrative by masterfully weaving together three subplots to it’s breathtaking denouement. You may be able to seek refuge from a skeleton in your closet in a far away place, but the lesson learned from reading Have You Seen Her is that it can come creeping back when you least expect it, and bring nothing but tragedy to everyone involved.

Stuart Nulman
By: Stuart Nulman – info@mtltimes.ca

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