Meeting in Desolate Places

Empty Places - Martin Roy Hill

I was provided with a copy of Empty Places by the author through the GoodReads “Reviews Initiative” group in exchange for my fair and honest review.


Robin Anderson, a journalist and aspiring news anchor, had been warned never to meet a contact in an out of the way place. But, defying better judgment, Robin agrees to a rendezvous in the desert dunes, a desolate location lit only by a three-quarter blue-white moon. Perhaps it should come as no surprise that, shortly thereafter, her dead body is found. We then learn that Robin left behind more than just her ex-husband, Peter Brandt, who, stationed as a journalist south of the border, is notified by wire to go to Robin’s funeral. Robin also left behind a tape—a tape that becomes sought after by both the murderers and by Peter as he tries to unravel Robin’s last days.


Martin Hill has, in Empty Places, created a brisk paced mystery that will keep readers engaged from beginning to end. My favorite of the characters is Peter’s friend, Matt Banyon, who helps Peter to try to unravel events. I found him to be the most “fleshed out” of the characters and I “liked” him. Peter also is well drawn; he becomes more real as his guilt for having failed in his relationship with Robin grows (though his moodiness was a bit annoying at times—such as when he and Laurie stop at Zelda’s for a drink). My least favorite character and relationship—by far—was Laurie Hall and her relationship with Peter. I found Laurie to be sophomoric—which I believe Hill intended though, unfortunately, this left the story without a single strong, intelligent female figure. However, I found Peter to be sophomoric in his belief that Laurie was genuinely interested in him. For this reader, Laurie was too much, too fast, too—false. I would have expected Peter to have seen through her. Indeed, the “missing point” in my rating of this story is due to this “relationship” between Peter and Laurie. 


Empty Places is filled with unexpected events and discoveries. Who is the mastermind behind Robin’s murder? What does it have to do with events of years past? Why are the police so contrary to Peter and Matt’s investigation? What role does the wealthy Carlos Tinnerman play? These and other questions will keep readers turning the pages of Empty Places until they reach the satisfying conclusion to this mystery.


Also posted on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and GoodReads.  Review added to two review groups on Google+ and tweeted.  Cover pinned.