"All the Little Liars" (Minotaur), by Charlaine Harris
Long before her Sookie Stackhouse series, Charlaine Harris was best known for her lively tales about small-town librarian Aurora Teagarden.
Her latest novel, "All the Little Liars," marks Harris' return to Aurora, last seen in 2003's "Poppy Done to Death." The energetic, highly entertaining novel is like seeing a dear friend and picking up the relationship.
While the Aurora series is entrenched in the amateur sleuth genre, Harris has managed to weave in more serious issues while keeping the story light and nonviolent. The author tackles bullying, teenage angst, family dynamics and the feeling of entitlement.
Much has changed for Aurora since her last appearance, though she's the same witty, compassionate and whip-smart character that readers embraced. Aurora is married to mystery writer Robin Crusoe and they are expecting their first child. Aurora's 15-year-old half brother Phillip has moved in with them. Phillip makes friends with a group of other teens, but he vanishes, along with three of his friends. Another teen is found dead. While the police and sheriff's office search for the missing teens, Aurora and Robin start their own investigation, maneuvering among the myriad high-school cliches and rumors, including a reluctance to talk to adults.
Harris tackles the complex nature of family relationships, including Aurora's own family. Aurora is aghast when she learns that some families seem to allow their children to become bullies, and she is equally upset when she uncovers unsavory actions by her father.