Review: Northwoods by Amy Pease

NorthwoodsNorthwoods by Amy Pease
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars**

Northwoods is a debut Crime Thriller/Mystery from author, Amy Pease. I love checking out new authors and am glad that I picked this one up.

Set in the small resort town of Shaky Lake, Wisconsin, this mystery circles around a well-known crisis in America, the opioid epidemic. Eli North is a deputy in Shaky Lake, whose own life is a bit shaky at the moment.

Eli, after returning from a tour of duty in Afghanistan, turns to alcohol as a way to cope with his overwhelming PTSD. As expected, it has disastrous effects.

His marriage is over and he’s had to take a job working for his Mom, the only person who would actually hire him and keep him on, putting up with his less than savory habits. His mother just so happens to be the Sheriff of Shaky Lake…

The mystery begins with a teenage boy’s body being found in a boat, and a teenage girl being reported missing. As a resort town, the lake draws a lot of outsiders, so solving crimes like these aren’t always as simple as it may seem and this one is anything but simple.

We follow Eli, and the rest of the small department, as they try to figure out this mess and set their beloved town to rights. They’re also joined by FBI Agent, Alyssa Mason.

I enjoyed this, it’s a good story. I liked how nuanced the mystery was and the setting was great. I live in a resort town, so I totally understand the vibes and the different challenges that these characters were facing there.

I also tend to enjoy main characters like Eli; a little damaged, going through some major struggles, but still doing their best and trying to do the right thing.

I liked how Pease chose to make his Mom the Sheriff. I thought that was a interesting dynamic, particularly as it influenced the investigation. The Department is small and they have limited resources. It made them feel like more than coworkers; they were all in this together.

I’m not sure really, I guess I haven’t looked into it, whether or not this is going to be a series, but I would definitely be picking up the next book, if there is another one.

I feel like Pease did a great job here setting the foundation for what could be a fantastic, gritty, page-turning Police Procedural Mystery series.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoyed Caz Frear’s Cat Kinsella series. This reminded me a lot of that, as far as the overall tone and having a compelling protagonist struggling with personal issues.

Further, I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys Crime Thrillers that examine the underbelly of our society, and aren’t afraid to really dig into why some of these societal issues may exist, or where they stem from.

Thank you to the publisher, Atria, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

I am glad to have been introduced to Amy Pease. I’m looking forward to picking up whatever she writes next!

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Review: Love Letters to a Serial Killer by Tasha Coryell

Love Letters to a Serial KillerLove Letters to a Serial Killer by Tasha Coryell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Love Letters to a Serial Killer is like nothing I have read before. This one is truly in a category all of its own, and the more I think about it, the more I think I enjoyed it!

This story follows Hannah, who in her 30s, finds herself in a rut. Her job is a bore, she feels disconnected from her soon-to-be-married best friend, and the guy she’s been in love with has moved on to someone else.

Hannah is lonely. She needs a change. When four women are killed in Atlanta, apparently by an active serial killer, Hannah discovers True Crime forums. She’s immediately hooked into the energetic community of online sleuths.

When a handsome lawyer, William, is arrested for the crimes, Hannah’s interest quickly becomes obsession.

Captivated by the case, Hannah decides to write William a letter as a way to air all of her frustrations and anger. What harm could come of it? It feels like a great way to express herself, and no one else will ever know anything about it.

Unexpectedly, William writes back. His letters are surprisingly charming and he seems so interested in her. It’s hard to reconcile his beautiful letters with the horrible monster the world is claiming him to be.

As mentioned, this whole thing has become an obsession of sorts for Hannah. It takes over her life. After losing her job for poor performance, she decides to leave her life behind and head to Atlanta to attend William’s trial.

The trial is a media frenzy, but in spite of the chaos, Hannah attends each and every day. She ends up befriending some other attendees and eventually begins to feel more at home there than she ever did in her old life.

When a 5th-woman is murderer while the trial is underway, it throws everything into question. How can William be the guilty party, if women are still being murdered the same way while he’s locked up?

With this huge development, and the prosecution having nothing more than circumstantial evidence against him, the jury has no choice but to find William not guilty. Guess who he calls upon after?

That’s right. Hannah. The two move in together and officially become a couple. Everything is great. William is so supportive of her, she doesn’t even have to get a new job.

All the more time for investigating him, because Hannah still suspects William could be a serial killer, acquittal or not.

Honestly, Love Letters to a Serial Killer is an odd little story. Even though I didn’t like Hannah, or her bonkers choices, I still found it to be ridiculously compelling.

I could not stop reading!

I feel like this one is going to garner some strong opinions upon its release, and I’m definitely interested to read them all. I found it to be completely original and wickedly fun, but it definitely tackles some taboo topics.

It did take me a minute to commit to the story. Hannah seems so desperate in the beginning. It annoyed me. I thought to myself, no wonder she is going to fall for a serial killer. She was just looking for any attention AT ALL.

Once it got to the point where she discovered the forums though, I was hooked. Then there was the letters! Was she nuts? He hadn’t even gone to trial yet. She was thinking he’d be locked up forever, but that’s never guaranteed.

Her choices were just a string of, WTF, Hannah?!?, moments, and I was eating it up.

As it goes along, it gets more and more wild. The family gets involved, other people, and then their relationship. OMG, I just, I’m not really sure how to sum up my thoughts on it.

It’s sick, it’s twisted, it’s slightly deranged, but I liked it. Hannah is like the Carole Ann Boone of the Romantic Thriller genre.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

This is an incredibly memorable one for me and I can’t wait to get more from this author!

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Review: The Reappearance of Rachel Price by Holly Jackson

The Reappearance of Rachel PriceThe Reappearance of Rachel Price by Holly Jackson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

16-years ago, Rachel Price, wife and mother, went missing. There were a lot of odd details surrounding her disappearance, such as her car was found abandoned with her 2-year old daughter, Bel, still inside.

Ever since, the mysterious disappearance of Rachel Price has remained a well-known case with many speculating on what could have happened to her.

All these years later, a documentary filmmaker has decided to revisit the disappearance and create a film. He’s asked the Price family to participate and they’ve agreed.

Even though Bel wishes everyone would just move on, she amiably participates, as she knows it’s something important to her Dad. He was initially suspected, but since cleared. It’s remained a touchy subject for the family, as you can imagine, ever since.

The crew has established themselves in the Price’s area and are doing regular interviews and filming. During this process, the unimaginable happens. Rachel reappears.

Seemingly out of nowhere, Rachel returns with an unbelievable story. It’s so unbelievable, Bel doesn’t believe it’s true. If Rachel is lying though, where has she been all this time and why come back now?

We follow along with Bel as she tries to figure out what happened all those years ago, and more importantly, what the heck is going on now.

I enjoyed this a lot. The set-up is great. I loved the idea of a long unsolved mystery being explored afresh by a documentary film crew. I felt like Bel was a good sport about the doc and I did feel empathy for her in regards to everything she had to deal with in her life.

The Price family is complicated and I do love a complicated family dynamic. I had fun getting to know the family and learning all of the details surrounding Rachel’s disappearance.

Even though Rachel’s reappearance was expected, I still found it to be eerie. Her story was just so bizarre, it didn’t make any sense and she didn’t seem to be able to provide clarity.

Bel is uncomfortable with Rachel being back. She feels like she’s being forced to live with liar, and it’s difficult for her to interact with Rachel as Rachel tries to reconnect with her.

I was right there with Bel. I didn’t trust Rachel either and my Horror Heart was screaming, CHANGELING, even though I knew that probably wasn’t the case.

A lot of the focus of the story is this back-and-forth between Rachel and Bel. Jackson definitely succeeded in keeping me at the edge of my seat during all of that. It raised my pulse, not going to lie.

I will say, the first 3/4 of this was better for me that the closing sections. The tension and intrigue of the build-up and center portions held more weight for me; it kept me more engaged and excited. The ending, with some of the reveals, started to lose me a bit.

I wasn’t crazy about some of the explanations and ultimate outcomes, but getting there was fun. Also, keep in mind, this is personal taste. The outcomes didn’t quite mesh with what I wanted for these characters, but others may enjoy it more.

It must be tough being Holly Jackson actually. She stormed onto the scene with a MONSTER of a debut, A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, which just so happens to be my favorite YA Mystery of all time.

That debut novel, and the rest of the series, has been incredibly popular. Absolutely OTT-levels of hype and love surround that series and has for years.

I feel like everything she’s put out since naturally gets compared to that and it’s gonna be real difficult to surpass. It’s not that I don’t think she can do it, I know she has the talent, but it’s gonna be tough.

Neverless, she’s a queen of twists and bringing solid, page-turning drama. While this one didn’t reach AGGG level for me, it was still darn good and a heck of a lot of fun to read. I would definitely recommend it, and look forward to whatever Jackson writes next!!!

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Review: Village in the Dark (Cara Kennedy #2) by Iris Yamashita

Village in the Dark (Cara Kennedy, #2)Village in the Dark by Iris Yamashita
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Village in the Dark is the 2nd-book in the Cara Kennedy mystery series. Let it be known right outta the gate that I haven’t read the 1st-book yet.

That’s right, I’m picking them up out of order…

I know some of you may disagree with my pattern for doing this, but with Adult Mystery series, I sort of just pick up the ones that sound like they have the most intriguing mystery elements. Then if I really enjoy the characters and setting, I’ll go back and read the prior books.

I’m happy to report that I would love to go back and read the 1st-book, and any others that happen to come after this. I had fun with the mystery and did become attached to Cara and her intriguing personal story.

In this story, we do follow Cara Kennedy, who is a Detective in Anchorage, Alaska. We learn at the start that Cara is grieving the fairly recent loss of her husband, Aaron, and their young son, Dylan.

The boys went out on a camping trip and never returned. Their bodies were later found at the bottom of a cliff. It was believed an accident, but new evidence points to foul play.

Cara is devastated. She was upset enough believing they accidentally met their demise, but to learn someone else actually took them from her. She needs to find the truth.

We also get the perspectives of two other women related to the crime. It’s unclear for a good portion of the story how everything fits together, but as the pieces started to fall into place, that’s when it really picked up for me.

I loved the setting. There’s something about mysteries set in Alaska that just feel more dangerous and intriguing to me. The harsh landscape, the remote areas, it pushes the tension levels in really pleasing ways.

I definitely enjoyed Cara’s perspective the most out of the three, but I did enjoy how the three came together and I think overall, it was well-executed.

As mentioned above, I would absolutely pick up any more books in this series that are released. I do plan to go back and read the 1st-book, City Under One Roof, soon. I am interested to see if Cara’s husband and son are in that book, and if so, what those relationships were like.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys Adult Mystery series following Detective protagonists. Bonus points if you enjoy mysteries set in remote areas such as Alaska. I really enjoyed learning about Cara’s community and the surrounding areas; very interesting.

Thank you to the publisher, Berkley, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

I’m excited to have a new Detective to follow!

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Review: A Marriage of Lies by Amanda McKinney

A Marriage of LiesA Marriage of Lies by Amanda McKinney
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

A Marriage of Lies is a tense Psychological Thriller from Amanda McKinney. I was seeing a lot of early buzz for this release and needed to find out what it was all about.

After reading it, in a day (!!!), I am so happy that I took a chance on a new-to-me author and have officially joined the Hype Train. I was left with whiplash after finishing this twisted tale of love, devious deception and lies.

I don’t want to say anything about the plot. I knew nothing going in and that’s what I would recommend.

I will say that I loved one of the main characters, Rowan, and her trusty companion, Banjo. Rowan is a Detective and I was pleasantly surprised to have an MC with that career leading the show here.

This also went pretty dark, as far as the crimes are concerned, and I definitely wasn’t expecting that either!

As mentioned above, this is the first time I have read from Amanda McKinney, but I’m absolutely ready to pick up some more of her Thrillers. If they’re anything like this, I know I’m in for a good time.

While I did find some aspects slightly predictable, particularly towards the end, that didn’t diminish my enjoyment. Overall, I found it to be extremely engaging, as well as highly-readable and incredibly entertaining!

Thank you to the publisher, Storm Publishing, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

This was a delightful surprise!

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Review: Ghost Island (Jessica Niemi #4) by Max Seeck

Ghost Island (Ghosts of the Past, #4)Ghost Island by Max Seeck
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

Ghost Island is the 4th-installment in Max Seeck’s Jessica Niemi series, also known as the Ghosts of the Past series.

These Nordic Crime novels follow MC, Jessica Niemi, who is a Helsinki Police Detective. Admittedly, this is the first novel that I have picked up in this series, and personally, I feel it worked well as a standalone.

With this being said though, I enjoyed it so much that I intend to go back and read the previous 3-books. I’ve already got the 1st-book, The Witch Hunter, on loan from my library and am excited to start it soon.

I found Jessica to be a very compelling protagonist, and she did refer to some things in her past that I am interested in learning more about. Most specifically, her relationship with an apparent mentor who has since passed away.

In this installment, at the very beginning of the story, Jessica gets in a bit of trouble while leaving a therapy appointment. She gets in an altercation with a belligerent man, who goes so far as to put his hands on her.

Defending herself, Jessica fights back, although in hindsight, she may have taken it a little too far. When video of the incident spreads, Jessica’s supervisor suggests she take some leave to get her head on straight. The Department doesn’t need this type of negative publicity.

Jessica travels to a remote island in the Åland archipelago, where she rents a room at a historic seaside inn. She doesn’t tell anyone in her life where she is going.

Hoping for solitude, Jessica is a bit rattled when a group of elderly travelers arrive, one of them begrudged that Jessica is inhabiting the room she usually stays in.

Jessica learns this group is the last of the ‘birds of spring’, former refugees who fled Finland as children during World War II and lived together for a few months in an orphanage on the island. They return every year, for a reunion of sorts.

The orphanage has been abandoned for years, but the building still exists and local legend has it that one of the orphans, a girl named Maija, who went missing decades before, still haunts the island.

Maija is said to appear, in her signature blue coat, late at night at the end the pier, the last place she was ever seen.

When one of the ‘birds of spring’ is found dead, drowned by the pier, Jessica suspects foul play. She begins to dig into the past of the orphanage and discovers two other deaths that suggest a copycat killer may be on the island.

With inclement weather closing in, making travel an impossibility, Jessica must get to the bottom of this and quickly, before more people end up dead.

I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this. As mentioned, I hadn’t read the other books and wasn’t sure if that would damper my enjoyment or not.

Nevertheless, this synopsis was intriguing enough for me to want to take the risk and I’m so glad that I did. I was invested in this very early on, as I found Jessica’s character extremely compelling.

I was surprised that this turned out to be a dual timeline, with us getting a huge chunk of the story told via Maija’s perspective, set in the mid-1940s, at the time when she resided at the orphanage.

I am not a big Historical Fiction Reader, but it seemed well done here. Maija’s perspective did manage to keep me engaged and wanting to discover the connections to the present and Jessica’s stay at the property.

This brings me to the setting. I loved it. As someone who lives on a small island, that is remote and difficult to get to, I love island-set stories. It makes it so easy for me to picture just the overall feel of that landscape.

This was made infinitely better by the inclement weather that descends just as the plot is heating up. It brought a claustrophobic feel, as you realize that there is literally no escape for these characters. Someone is dead, and they are stuck. There’s a killer amongst them, but who?

I am an atmosphere girl, first and foremost, and this transported me. I felt like I was there alongside Jessica. I could feel the cold, the wind, the isolation. It was gripping.

My only slight criticism would be, once we got to the big reveal, I felt like the end dragged on a little two long for my tastes. Perhaps, if I had read the earlier books and had more backstory on Jessica I wouldn’t have felt that way, IDK.

Either way, I cannot wait to read the other books in this series and I hope there are more coming. Jessica definitely has a lot of room to grow as character. I feel like there are big things ahead for her.

Thank you to the publisher, Berkley, for providing me a copy to read and review. You’ve hooked me. I’m looking forward to more Jessica Niemi!

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Review: All the Dark Places (Detective Rita Myers #1) by Terri Parlato

All the Dark PlacesAll the Dark Places by Terri Parlato
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

All the Dark Places is the start of Terri Parlato’s Detective Rita Myers Mystery series. There are 2-books released thus far, with the 2nd-book having just come out this past December.

I actually read them out of order, starting with What Waits in the Woods. I really enjoyed it and knew immediately that I needed to read this 1st-book ASAP.

I loved Rita and needed more of her in my life!

This is a dual perspective story following Detective Rita Myers, our MC, and Molly Bradley, the woman most closely linked to the mystery tackled in this book.

This story is set during the first week of January, which incidentally is when I read it. This tickled me for some reason. This has no bearing on my review, I just thought it was a funny coincidence.

So, it’s the first week of January and Molly has planned a dinner party for her husband, Jay’s, 40th-birthday. They have their tight-knit group of friends, which consists of three other local couples, over to the house.

It’s a great time. There’s plenty of drinks, laughs, food and even a beautiful cake. At the end of the night, the wine has definitely gone to Molly’s head. She heads upstairs to bed while Jay sees the other couples out.

The next morning when Molly wakes, Jay isn’t in the bedroom. He isn’t in the house at all and no coffee has been made. Fearing something is wrong, Molly rushes out to his office, housed in an outbuilding on their property. It’s there that she finds his dead body.

Detective Rita Myers is assigned to Jay Bradley’s case. An experienced detective, Rita is convinced that Jay’s murder isn’t some random act of violence. She believes someone in their circle is responsible for his death.

The investigation leaves no stone unturned as Rita digs into Molly and Jay’s life. It turns out, their group, like most, is hiding a lot deep dark secrets, including Molly herself.

It’s really hard for me to not 5-star a book that keeps me invested for an entire day. I flew through this and loved it. It wasn’t totally perfect, but pretty damn close.

I am well and truly invested in Detective Rita Myers now. I can’t wait for more books in this series, but I have a feeling, since the second one just released, that I’m in for quite a wait before book three.

I listened to the audiobook for both and loved them so much. It’s dual narrators, to fit the dual perspective and the narrators truly captured the spirit of these characters.

I definitely recommend this series to any Reader who enjoys Police Procedural Mysteries, or Crime Thrillers. Parlato’s mysteries are engaging and hard to put down once you start.

Detective Myers is such a compelling MC as well. She’s someone you can really get behind. She’s strong, smart, determined and always looking to do what’s right.

When I say I read this straight through, I’m not joking. I was on a journey with these characters. I didn’t even have time to make status updates. That’s how invested I was. I’m actually hoping for a paycheck from Rita’s department for my efforts.

If you’re looking for a strong new Mystery series to start, look no further. This is where it’s at. While you’re reading it, I’ll just be over here patiently waiting for more!!

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Review: What Waits in the Woods (Detective Rita Myers #2) by Terri Parlato

What Waits in the WoodsWhat Waits in the Woods by Terri Parlato
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What Waits in the Woods is the 2nd-book in Terri Parlato’s Detective Rita Myers series. This is an Adult Police Procedural Mystery following, you guessed it, Detective Rita Myers.

I actually didn’t read the 1st-book, All the Dark Places, prior to reading this one, but I enjoyed this so much, I started the 1st-book immediately after and have already finished it.

It’s fair to say, I will continue to pick up each book in this series as they’re released. Keep ’em coming, Parlato!

This is a dual perspective story following Detective Myers and Esmé Foster, a young woman directly connected to the mystery investigated in this book.

I listened to the audiobook and the dual narrators truly brought these two perspectives to life.

Esmé left her small hometown of Graybridge, 11-years ago to pursue her ballet career. After an injury and a recent break-up though, she decides it’s finally time to return after she gets a call from her brother stating their father isn’t well.

The day that Esmé returns, a body is discovered on her family property. She arrives home to police cars and questions, not exactly the homecoming she was expecting.

Making matters worse is the fact that the dead body isn’t just some stranger, it’s Kara Cunningham, one of Esmé’s closest childhood friends.

Esmé is devastated by the loss of her friend, but there’s something else needling her as well. Esmé and Kara looked a lot alike, what if she was actually the intended target?

Esmé has her reasons for believing this could be the case, but it’s going to take her processing a lot of old baggage to actually figure it out.

Detective Rita Myers gets called to the Foster property after the discovery of Kara’s body and immediately digs in to her investigation. Detective Myers has a lot of experience and genuine care in her work.

There’s no doubt she is going to get to the bottom of this grisly crime, no matter what it takes.

I had so much fun reading this. The mystery was intriguing, the plot was fast-paced and the reveals were exciting and more often than not, unexpected.

I think Detective Myers is a fabulous main character and I know I am just going to become more and more attached to her as the series continues.

She’s a seasoned detective, no-nonsense and smart. She works with a lot of younger detectives and cops and you can tell that they look up to her as a leader.

I also enjoyed getting to know her more on a personal side outside of work. She has some interesting neighbors and even a potential love interest that I am hoping to learn more about in subsequent books.

As with many Mystery series, I don’t feel like you need to necessarily read these books in order. I didn’t feel like I was missing anything going into this because I hadn’t read the 1st-book yet. It’s a complete story unto itself.

I do feel, though, that this is the type of series where the longer you stay involved with this group of characters, the more attached you become, and the higher your enjoyment level will ultimately be.

I knew right away that I would continue on with this series. The writing is compelling, the mystery is well-formatted and the characters are likable.

This is a very solid Police Procedural Mystery. I would recommend it for fans of Caz Frear’s Cat Kinsella series, or Gytha Lodge’s DCI Jonah Sheens series, as I feel like the tone here and quality of the mystery are very similar to those.

Thank you to the publisher, Recorded Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

I’m so excited to have a new Mystery author to follow. I hope this series keeps going for a long, long time!

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Review: First Lie Wins by Ashley Elston

First Lie WinsFirst Lie Wins by Ashley Elston
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ashley Elston is a beloved author of YA-Mystery/Thriller and Contemporary stories. She’s one of my favorites actually.

I’ve picked up all of her releases since I first discovered her top-notch writing on full display in This Is Our Story, published in 2016.

That one kept me guessing until the very end. I loved the pace of it and the investigatory elements woven throughout. I was stoked to have a new author to swoon over.

With First Lie Wins, Elston delivers us her first work in the Adult space. I’m happy to report, she’s entering the fairly-saturated Thriller market with a banger.

This story was completely engrossing and intriguing, with well-fleshed out characters. It grabbed a hold of my from the very beginning and never let up.

Normally, I would summarize a bit of the plot, but I don’t want to here. I want you to go in knowing little to nothing about this story. That’s the best way to experience it, IMO.

I’m not sure that I ever read the synopsis. Elston’s name on the cover was enough.

This story does feature action, high-stakes and shady underground networks. I would say it is on trend with such recent releases as Zero Days and Before She Finds Me.

If you enjoyed either of those two books, you should absolutely pick this one up. I would also recommend this to anyone who enjoys a long-game; IYKYK.

Elston’s writing is so fluid and engaging, it’s clear she would be successful in whatever genre she chooses to write in. Personally though, I am hoping for a lot more in this space. This was fascinating and well-structured.

An exciting Adult Thriller.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Pamela Dorman Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

This was a great way to kick off my 2024-reading journey!

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Review: The Haunting on West 10th Street (Detective Maria Miller #1) by Helen Phifer

The Haunting on West 10th Street (Detective Maria Miller, #1)The Haunting on West 10th Street by Helen Phifer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Haunting on West 10th Street is the 1st-book in the Detective Maria Miller Police Procedural Mystery series by Helen Phifer.

In this story we follow Detective Miller and her partner, Frankie, as they investigate a brutal crime in the attic of a Greenwich brownstone, where decades earlier a beautiful actress was murdered in the same way. The detectives are puzzled by the disturbing similarities between the crimes occurring in this house.

How could they be connected? Do they just have a sadistic copycat on their hands, or something more sinister?

Immediately upon entering the brownstone, Maria feels something dark. It’s a tickle in her senses; unpleasant and unsettling. The dramatic staging of the crime scene only enhances these feelings.

In both the past and present cases, body parts were removed from the victims and not recovered. Additionally, evidence of satanic rituals have been found. Who could possibly want to recreate something so evil?

This story is told using a dual timeline. We follow Maria and Frankie in the present, but we also get a historical perspective featuring the events leading up to the previous murder in the house. Lastly, we do get a modern perspective from an unknown individual, who appears to be our baddie.

I enjoyed getting the multi-perspectives, as well as the history. Although I did find the past sections a little slower-paced than the modern perspectives. With this being said, I still enjoyed the fact that it was told this way and I feel like it gave a lot of needed insight into the property and the characters involved.

The brownstone on West 10th feels like a haunting presence in this story. It becomes a character unto itself and I always appreciate when an author can provide us with such a vivid sense of place.

There is quite a bit of focus on the partnership between Maria and Frankie. They’ve been together for a long time and you can tell that they both care deeply for one another, but with Frankie’s marriage failing, could there be something more?

I know some Readers won’t care for the slight romance plot that’s woven throughout this story, but for me, I found it made the characters feel more realistic.

When you’re working with someone as closely as these two are, over a number of years, there’s bound to be some types of complicated feelings intrinsic to that relationship.

I didn’t feel like the author overplayed that, or let it overshadow the investigative aspects of the story. For me, it was blended in well and felt natural.

I did have the chance to listen to the audiobook for this one and I definitely recommend it as a format for this story. The back-and-forth between the timelines was handled well and the narration is fantastic.

Overall, this was super entertaining. I vibed well with Maria as a character and am definitely looking forward to going along on future investigations with these detectives. The ending was such a great set-up for the continuation of the series. I can’t wait to see what will come their way next.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys darker, Police Procedural Mysteries. Particularly, if you are a Horror fan like me, this may work really well for your tastes. Phifer definitely has a knack for incorporating some paranormal aspects into her mysteries.

Thank you to the publisher, Storm Publishing, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I can’t wait to continue on with this series!

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