In California’s Topanga Canyon, trouble is brewing. A successful, yet moody young architect builds model houses in his basement, trying to recreate and make sense of his mysterious childhood. Moving from place to place, sometimes in the middle of the night, he feels disconnected. Surreal. But one thing Ray Jackson believes to be true—his mother dedicated her life to him. He also carries a ring of old keys. Keys that unlock all the houses they once lived in.
But Leigh Jackson, successful in her own right as a maker of creative furniture, has been trying desperately to get his attention.
That last night, after struggling to tell him what’s on her mind, she abruptly leaves.
Ray thinks she’s gone to cool off and will be back. But time passes—days and then weeks. Leigh’s father calls in the police, who suspect Ray may have done something to his wife. As if to somehow find answers to his past, as if they will help him with the current nightmare, he begins visiting those old houses—and in each one, finds mysterious audio tapes hidden in various secret compartments. Tapes that tell a story.
Meanwhile, Kat and Jacki, sisters who grew up in Whittier, are thinking about the old days. Which is why Kat tries to connect with her old friend Leigh. Only to discover, of course, that she’s gone missing. Even though she kind of suspects Ray, too, Kat is drawn into helping him.
One thing I can count on with an O’Shaughnessy novel. This writing team of two sisters draws the reader in with vivid, true-to-life characters, and then reveals bits and pieces of their hidden selves—just to add to the mysterious ambience going on in the stories.
It took me a short time to really get into this story. I was a bit puzzled by the behavior of Ray and Leigh, the first characters introduced. But the more I dug in, the more I could connect with them. And when the final secrets were revealed, I was surprised. Like a treasure unwrapped slowly, these authors unfold the layers of drama until finally, we see the complete picture.
I loved Keeper of the Keys almost as much as the Nina Reilly tales. I didn’t connect with the story quite as quickly, however…which is why I’m giving this one four stars.