The Past Never Ends
By Jackson Burnett
ISBN# 9781620160039 

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Lindsay

The main reason I like to read mystery books is to guess the ending and see if I’m right.  A good mystery will prove you completely wrong at the end of the book.  The Past Never Ends will keep you guessing up until the last page.  Chester Morgan is an attorney in Vivia Oklahoma with a small practice that focuses on the clients.  After losing his wife and finding a fellow lawyer and friend dead at the local YMCA pool, he falls into a bit of a rut.  Until one day when Alan Kinman walks into Morgan’s office wanting to hire him to investigate a murder.  Kinman’s friend, Tanya Everly, is found dead in a motel room in a seedy part of town.  The police have ruled it an accident, however, Kinman believes she was murdered.  When Morgan begins to investigate the police cover up, he is drawn into a world all its own.  The more he digs for the truth the deeper he falls into the new world and soon he discovers that these two worlds have collided with deadly results.

Alan Kinman’s character is a mystery though the entire book.  We never really know his identity or anything specific about him.  Some readers may feel this leaves the book open ended and authors need to settle all loose ends by the last page.  However, I think this adds an extra mysterious element to the book.  I agree with Burnett’s decision to leave a major character a mystery.  I liked how I was left wanting to know more about him.  In contrast, Chester Morgan’s character goes through a growth and transformation throughout the book.  As he investigates Tanya’s murder, we see how he goes from a person going through the motions of life to a person with a passion again.  He becomes passionate about finding Tanya’s murderer but he also begins to feel real feelings again.  I commend Burnett’s ability to use his characters to create a strong contrast in a book already coated in mystery.  In my opinion, this element really took the book from an okay mystery to a well-written in depth story that leaves you wanting to read more about Chester Morgan.

During the course of his investigation, Morgan meets Tanya’s best friend, Maria.  She takes him on a roller skating adventure that instantly became my favorite part of the book.  It reminded me of roller skating in high school and had me laughing through the entire scene.  The only difference is that I never claimed to be good at roller skating like Morgan.  I like how Burnett was able to incorporate some humor into a serious story.

Even the best books have a storyline I don’t like or a character I don’t care for in there somewhere.  Surprisingly, I just couldn’t find anything I didn’t like about this book.  I thought the characters were unique and entertaining and the storyline kept me guessing.  I really felt The Past Never Ends deserves five stars because of the creative characters Burnett created.  This was a fast-paced read that pulls together into a surprising ending.  This book will appeal to mystery lovers but also to readers who enjoy an emotional journey as well.  I really recommend you give this book a read.  It’s a good mystery that develops quickly and ends with a surprising twist.