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Facing the Past

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A childhood tragedy. An unsolved murder. In the quest to rewrite her family’s past, Danielle Patterson could lose her future. 
After her mother’s sudden death, a Dallas housewife struggles to hold her young family together…especially after Danielle Patterson uncovers a dark secret that shatters her reality. Determined to bring her brother’s killer to justice, Danielle picks up exactly where her late mother left off. All too soon, her reckless pursuit proves Danielle—and her mother— knew the killer .
Facing the Past is a poignant domestic thriller that explores the interplay between relationships and regrets. If you like the lyrical prose of Gayle Forman and the gripping family drama of Marisa de los Santos, then you'll love J. J. Cagney’s captivating novel. 

188 pages, Kindle Edition

Published March 11, 2019

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About the author

J.J. Cagney

9 books36 followers
J. J. Cagney is the mystery/thriller pen name of USA Today bestselling author Alexa Padgett. Her debut mystery, A Pilgrimage of Death, was named to Kirkus Reviews’ 100 Best Books of 2018 and Goodreads Best Mysteries of the 2010s.

Cagney holds a bachelor’s in international marketing and spent part of her twenties as the marketing director for an elite sports management firm. And, yes, she did her requisite stint with a dotcom back in the early 2000s, first as a marketing coordinator and then as a content manager. She’s penned work for a variety of websites and magazines, and she worked as a literary agent for Irene Webb Literary.

She lives in northern New Mexico with her husband, children, about a million fish, and their Great Pyrenees, Ash. Kirkus Reviews called Cagney’s latest mystery, An Artifact of Death, “An exhilarating entry in a thoroughly enjoyable series.”

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Displaying 1 - 21 of 21 reviews
Profile Image for Angie ~aka Reading Machine~.
3,237 reviews131 followers
April 25, 2019
Danielle Patterson is a housewife with a dark past that haunts her family. She's a mother of two sons that doesn't have a good relationship with her father. Danielle's mother asks that she take her mother's journals to police and not let her father have them. Danielle doesn't question her mother over this. The dark past that haunts Danielle is that her older brother was murdered at a young age and the killer wasn't caught. It seems the killer is still active and looking for his next target. Can the murderer be caught? Will Danielle help solve the crime? Your answers await you in Facing the Past.

I really liked this book alot. Danielle isn't a wilting flower that sits on the sidelines. She's a strong and capable woman. The story is gut-wrenching in nature could happen to anyone at any time. The characters are complicated, complex, intriguing, mysterious, and anxious too. I would definitely read this author again.
128 reviews
March 23, 2019
Danielle has grown up under the shadow of her murdered brother. In spite of a mentally unstable mother and a distant father she has built a warm and loving family of her own. After her mother's death and explosive secret is working its way into the light. A serial killer is at work in their backyard. the information her mother had found will blow up Danielle's world. but will it cost Danielle the people she values the most?
This is an edge of your seat read. Heartbreaking, painful, and gripping this is every parent's worst nightmare. The characters are engaging and memorable. Very different from other works I have enjoyed by this author. I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Bec.
1,278 reviews4 followers
March 15, 2019
Brilliantly twisted

Wow totally kept me guessing until the end. Such a amazingly written story, that has u ignoring the real world until u have read the very last word!. Recommend to all.
682 reviews10 followers
March 20, 2019
A fantastic read. A mystery of an unsolved murder. This read grabs you right from the start, you want to help solve the mystery as you read, this read has you on the edge of your seat. Its fast paced and keeps intriqued thtoughout the whole read. I highly recommend this read.
Shauna Joesten
Profile Image for Nancy (The Avid Reader).
2,332 reviews102 followers
March 17, 2020
A young woman Danielle Patterson has a loving husband and two amazing little boys. Danielle finally has the family life she has always wanted. Danielle has lived in the shadow of her big brother’s death for most of her life as his killer was never found. Her mother, Nancy spent most of her days trying to figure out who killed her son not leaving much time for Danielle.

Nancy kept a journal of the days without her son and trying to find her son’s murder. I imagined that writing everything down helped Nancy to put everything into prospective and probably helped with her grieving while bringing it all out for her. I think her journals were another way for her to deal with the loss of her little boy.

Facing the Past is a story of a mother and a daughter dealing with the loss of one little boy that touched both of their hearts and lives over the years and how each of them coped with it. It made each woman stronger and maybe even a better parent.

Facing the Past is a heart wrenching story that will have you in tears on more than one occasion. It will keep you glued to the pages trying your best to figure out who hurt this little boy and his family and wondering what kind of person would do something like that and why.

I understand that Facing the Past may not be for everyone but I do believe that it could be very therapeutic for others. May be hopefully it would or could help someone to know how someone else dealt with the loss of a child or brother and the aftermath of what helped them to put one foot in front of the other one day at a time.
116 reviews
July 10, 2019

I’ve read a few books by these authors and this one doesn’t disappoint.
Danielle’s bigger brother Jonny was murdered when he was 7. Nobody ever figured out who killed him, or why. But now her mother is dying and her last wish is to share some information with Danielle. Information that she has to give to the Detective that was there when Jonny was found. With only 40 days until his retirement, now Chief Arlen Hardesty takes the call from Nancy and knows that there’s no way he can retire without putting this case, and a family’s anguish, to rest. But things aren’t all they seem. Her father, who left Nancy and Danielle, seems to have more to do with Jonny’s death than anyone suspects. And Danielle doesn’t know exactly what her mother’s journals might unearth. Was her father involved in his own son’s death? What exactly happened to Jonny? And will Chief Hardesty be able to solve the case before another child is murdered?

This book has a fantastic plot, spine-tingling twists, and realistic characters -all make this a great read!
Profile Image for Denise.
4,121 reviews13 followers
April 11, 2019
First off this one was a bit odd to read at times because I really work with a woman whose name is the main character's. This author gives you a thrilling murder mystery that heightens as the suspense escalates. It will capture you as soon as you enter this one. It will also keep you asking questions along with trying to find the answers. Some of the things that come to light will be quite the surprise. Getting aid from the mom was a interesting add. This was a cold case that its time had come which makes for even more gripping to read.
7,344 reviews24 followers
April 1, 2019
Nancy makes a call to Chief Hardesty, requesting to give the journals she had been writing to Danielle. With a prayer not Hank. She heard the skepticism and thinking she waited to late. He was ready to retire, and enjoy the time with his wife Irene. When Danielle picks up the journals her mother had left her. A nightmare became real, they knew the killer of her brother. Gripping, tense plot, and emotionally. How could they not have suspected who had killed him. Then to unravel of why, a dysfunctional family, that she had grown up in. Another good read by the author, that pulls you in and you want answers.
Given ARC for my voluntary review and my honest opinion.
Profile Image for Sheila Lee.
846 reviews10 followers
April 14, 2019
OMG! Facing the Past was part of the series Death and Damages and is the story of an unsolved 30 year old kidnapping and murder of a young boy and the ensuing fallout on the family, friends and police. On her death bed, the mother contacts the police and leaves them her journals hoping they contain the necessary clues to finding the serial killer. This book is a well-written, well-paced story that gave me white knuckle moments with a kick-butt ending. I recommend spending the money to purchase this book. Itt is worth the price!
Profile Image for Bev.
2,867 reviews74 followers
March 31, 2019
Danielle takes off where her deceased mother left off....looking for the murderer of her brother. It doesn't take long and Danielle discovers that both she and her mother knew the killer all along! But could that be possible? You will be drawn into the story from the first page all the way to the last word. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes a mystery. I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of this book.
591 reviews1 follower
June 24, 2019
This story comes in like a lamb and goes out like a lion with lots of roar! A who did it storyline that goes back through the years with people forgetting things. A family protecting their children and a Dad that was non existent to Danielle with not understanding the distance for a father and daughter. Danielle never found out what her mother new about the crime but upon the mother's dead bed she gave her some journals. Exciting storytelling, good reading.
648 reviews3 followers
June 29, 2020
A boy's murder has haunted his family for decades. Her mother's deathbed wish has Danielle wondering about the past. The cold case takes a turn as the journals of Dani's mother become the center of interest.
As this deals with a child's murder, I avoided reading in the late evening. This murder mystery does not have gory details. A shortish story which comes to a fevered finish. Well done.
PSA: Do not post fotos of your grand/children on social media, especially not fb.
1,219 reviews8 followers
April 1, 2019
Danielle's brother , Jonathan, was kidnapped as part of a plot to bring attention to needing shelter for children in need. Jonathan was killed by his abductor. This crime was not solved at the time. 30 years later Danielle's youngest son is taken from a ball field. Family secrets are finally uncovered and the people involved. The story line leads you to an exciting conclusion.
Profile Image for Nati.
2,087 reviews10 followers
April 24, 2019
Jonathan, Danielle’s brother, was abducted and brutally murder twenty eight years ago and thy never found his killer. But the death of Nancy, Danielle’s mother will reopen the case when they found Nancy’s diaries and it will put Danielle and her family in danger, because of the dark secret behind Jonathan’s death. An emotional story.
140 reviews1 follower
April 25, 2019
I received a free copy of this book from the author and am voluntarily leaving a review. I just really enjoyed this book. It just captured my attention and I just didn’t want it to end. It was just so easy to get lost in and I will most definitely be reading more wonderful stories from this author.
Profile Image for Claudia.
772 reviews21 followers
July 1, 2019
Brilliantly filled with twist and turns but what a page turner. A childhood tragedy is at the center piece of this story. A the mystery you can’t be wrapped in. It’s about finding peace and the closeness of family. How sometimes the truth is closer than you may have realized.
Profile Image for Carlynne Toomey.
457 reviews3 followers
July 29, 2019
This was a really intense book with very realistic characters. I enjoyed how the author developed the characters and how they grew throughout the book. I recommend it if you're looking for a good suspenseful read.
Profile Image for Becky Ballenger.
636 reviews18 followers
April 8, 2019
I loved this book!!!!! I am very new to J.J. Cagney, I will definitely read more!!!!!! Kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time!!!!!
69 reviews
July 1, 2019
I loved it. This book kept me in suspense the whole way though. I love guesing who the killer was. Thos had to be one of my favorites.
Displaying 1 - 21 of 21 reviews

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