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"What Happend to Nina?" Reviewed by Chris Stuckenschneider

Promoted as a thriller, “What Happened to Nina?,  by Dervla McTiernan, is a compelling read, but unlike other books in this genre it doesn’t keep readers guessing “who-dun-it.” Early in the story the perpetrator is revealed, shortly after we meet 20-year-old Nina, a sweet, pretty college sophomore who’s on a rock-climbing trip with Simon, her longtime boyfriend. The couple hail from Vermont and have enjoyed their getaway, Simon more, it seems, than Nina.

Immediately after the weekend, Nina and Simon break up and up and only one of them returns home to their parents. The other set of parents become horribly worried that their child remains missing and the police are contacted.

Simon and Nina had known each other all of their lives. Their long-standing relationship started off on a good note, but Simon has grown increasingly possessive and rough with Nina—and jealous of the time she spends helping her mother, Leanne, run the Black Friar Inn, which their family owns.

Nina has a younger sister and a stepdad, Andy, her family more blue-collar than her boyfriend’s clan, who are very powerful and wealthy. Simon’s father Rory knows all of the right people in town and his wife Jamie regularly gets Botox to keep her looking youthful, something she knows her husband wants.

Began this book and you’re immediately into it. The story is fast-paced and told in chapters narrated by Nina, and her parents, and by Simon and his parents. Two detectives weigh in as well, Matthew and his newbie-sidekick Sarah Jane, who’s only been in Major Crimes a couple of months.

“What Happened to Nina” is a story about family love, loyalty, loss and revenge. Deception runs rampant with the death of a young person and parents react in unhealthy ways, supporting their offspring and jeopardizing their own well-being and happiness in the process.

Just how far should a parent go to set the record straight? Not as far as Nina and Simon’s parents, whose actions prove revenge is far from sweet.  

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