Echoes in Death by J.D. Robb – a Review

Echoes in Death by J.D. Robb – a Review

 

Echoes in Death
In Death series – Book #44
by J.D. Robb
Release Date: February 7, 2017

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Description:
As NY Lt. Eve Dallas and her billionaire husband Roarke are driving home, a young woman—dazed, naked, and bloody—suddenly stumbles out in front of their car. Roarke slams on the brakes and Eve springs into action.

Daphne Strazza is rushed to the ER, but it’s too late for her husband Dr. Anthony Strazza. A brilliant orthopedic surgeon, he now lies dead amid the wreckage of his obsessively organized town house, his three safes opened and emptied. Daphne would be a valuable witness, but in her terror and shock the only description of the perp she can offer is repeatedly calling him “the devil”…

While it emerges that Dr. Strazza was cold, controlling, and widely disliked, this is one case where the evidence doesn’t point to the spouse. So Eve and her team must get started on the legwork, interviewing everyone from dinner-party guests to professional colleagues to caterers, in a desperate race to answer some crucial questions:

What does the devil look like? And where will he show up next?

 

Review:

Echoes in Death by J.D. Robb is the 44th book in her fantastic In Death series.  I am an In-Death fanatic, having read every single book and novella in this series.  I have never been disappointed, each and everytime; which proves what a great author J.D. Robb (aka Nora Roberts) is that she can keep us anxiously waiting for our next Eve Dallas fix.  As I have said before, Eve and Roarke are the best couple in the literary world and Robb/Roberts does this amazingly so well, without all the erotic sexual scenes, which seems to become the norm in romance.   The story is always on the forefront, and we still get our romance and deep love from this wonderful couple.  Ok, I guess I need to stop gushing.  Let’s discuss Echoes in Death.

Echoes in Death starts at 2am with Eve & Roarke on their way home from attending another gala that Eve so hates and she can’t wait to take off her shoes. But fate steps in, as it usually does with Eve, when they see a naked woman walking in front of their car on the icy streets; the woman is in shock, and is bloodied.  They rush her to the hospital, and when Eve tries to talk to her, the woman, Daphne Strazza, mutters about being attacked by the devil.  The doctors tell Eve that Daphne has been brutally beaten, raped multiple times, and is now totally traumatized.

Eve goes to the Strazza home with Roarke to look for Daphne’s husband, Doctor Anthony Strazza, whom they find dead.  The house was in shambles, with blood everywhere.  Once the house is secured, Peabody and McNab are called to help with the  investigation at the murder scene.  Eve surmises early on that with Daphne’s constant muttering of the Devil, it means that someone was dressed to look like that.

At the headquarters, the team will investigate any like types of crimes, and discover similarities in recent cases  that matched the same type of home invasion crimes of a  husband and wife, with various getups such as Dracula or a Ghoul.  This was the start of a fantastic story that will also hit close to home for Eve, as further investigation shows that Dr. Strazza abused his wife, bringing forward her own memories from her father’s abuse as a child. 

When the team begins to put pieces together to find a pattern, another murder of a husband and wife occurs, showing that the murderer is upping his game.  What follows is an exciting, tense race to find the killer before he strikes again.

Make no mistake, when you read an In- Death book the murders and murderer (‘s) are very violent. Our Eve is a hard as nails, tough murder cop, who will do anything it takes to bring the murderer to justice.  In between the tension of the case, there are always so many things that release the tension and make you love this series even more.   The secondary characters in this series are the best anywhere; such as Peabody, Mira, McNab, Summerset, Galahad, Baxter, Trueheart, and the entire police team that have become part of each new book.  Of course, Eve and Roarke are the main characters, but the others working with them make this a joy to read each and every time.  I love the banter between them, especially Peabody or Roarke with Eve.  I also adore her cat Galahad.  Over the years, this has become a wonderful ensemble to support Eve, and we didn’t even see Nadine or Mavis in this book. To tell too much more would be spoilers.

J.D. Robb once again gives us another fantastic edge of your seat thriller that was non-stop action, from start to finish.  The last quarter of the book, as Eve sets a trap for the murderer was sensational, and there were also some surprises.  I tried to read this book a little slower so that I can savior every moment, but I find it hard to do, since I want to know what happens.  So I end up the next day, going back and rereading a large majority of it. I will never have enough of this series; Eve and Roarke; and the entire In-Death team.   

Reviewed by Barb

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At Close Range by Laura Griffin – Review & Giveaway

At Close Range by Laura Griffin – Review & Giveaway

 

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At Close Range
Tracers series – Book #11
by Laura Griffin
Release Date: January 31, 2017

At Close RangeAmazon / B&N / Kobo / BAM / Book Depository

Description:
When a lakeside tryst ends in a double murder, police detective Daniele Harper arrives on the scene determined to get answers. Clues are everywhere, but nothing adds up. Dani turns to the Delphi Center crime lab for help, but soon regrets it when her secret attraction to their chief firearms examiner threatens to distract her from the most important case of her career.

As a ballistics expert and former Navy SEAL, Scott Black knows firearms, and he knows he can help Dani unravel her case. Scott has managed to hide his interest in his best friend’s younger sister for years, but when her investigation brings them together, the sparks between them quickly get out of control. Scott resolves to keep his hands off Dani and his eyes on the goal—identifying a killer. But when that killer zeroes in on Dani, all bets are off. There isn’t a line Scott won’t cross to convince Dani to trust him so that he can help her take down a ruthless murderer who has her in his sights.

 

Review:

At Close Range by Laura Griffin is the 11th book in her fantastic Tracers series.  This series reads very well as a standalone, though in each book you get to see glimpses of some of the previous characters, especially those from Delphi Center.  One of those characters, Scott Black, who is a ballistics expert for Delphi, is the hero in this book.  Daniele (Dani) Harper is our heroine, and she is a local detective.  Dani knows Scott very well, as he is her brother’s best friend.  She has always had a crush on him, but he has never shown any interest.  

At Close Range begins with a double murder of a man and woman, who were in their car, in what was to be a romantic encounter.  When Dani arrives at the gruesome scene, she takes control, and eventually she will become the lead detective in the murder case.  Scott is also on the scene, representing Delphi, as he looks for ballistics clues.  A short time later, during their investigation, the murder weapon is discovered, and Scott fingerprints are all over the gun.  Needless to say, he is now a suspect.  Dani, now in control, has to prove that Scott couldn’t have done this, and together with Ric and other detectives they begin to discover there is a frame up and conspiracy.  But who and why is the major mystery that takes us on an exciting suspenseful wild adventure, which will have so many twists and turns.  There is no way we could figure out who is behind this, at least not until we reach the end of this fabulous story.

Dani is very good at her job, and besides her detectives, she works well with the many workers that work at Delphi.  A few times we worry, since Dani finds herself in a few dangerous life threatening situations.  When she is finally able to clear Scott, he will go out of his way to work with her, and also help protect her.  Within the mystery, a romance will develop between Scott and Dani.  He has been attracted to her, but because she is the younger sister of his friend, he has always stepped away.  But now with them working so closely together, the chemistry between them heats up. 

There were so many twists and revelations along the way that saying anything more would be spoilers.  What follows is an amazing intense mystery that has you on the edge throughout the entire book.  What also makes this series so great is all wonderful dynamics of the Delphi Center (Tracers) that give us a look at the different ways to look for clues.  Laura Griffin does such an amazing job detailing all the aspects of looking for various things found at a murder scene….truly awesome.   If you enjoy a true murder mystery, with lots of action, suspense, intense situations and a touch of romance, then you should be reading the Tracers series. 

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

 

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The Girl Before by JP Delaney – a Review

The Girl Before by JP Delaney – a Review

 

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Description:
Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.

The request seems odd, even intrusive—and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.

Emma
Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece: a minimalist design of pale stone, plate glass, and soaring ceilings. But there are rules. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control: no books, no throw pillows, no photos or clutter or personal effects of any kind. The space is intended to transform its occupant—and it does.

Jane
After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street she is instantly drawn to the space—and to its aloof but seductive creator. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home’s previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror, as the girl before.

 

 

Review:

The Girl Before by JP Delaney is a standalone psychological suspense thriller.  The story alternates between two female two POV’s;  Then: Emma, and Now: Jane.  There is a two year period between Emma and Jane.  The common bond between both girls is the house they lived in One Folgate Street, as well as the architect, who build it. Edward Monkford, is the architect, and he only allows someone who meets his criteria to live there.  Each person who wants to move into this residence must first pass a huge series of strange questions, which includes many stipulations required in living there.  I personally found the stipulations totally weird & creepy; that alone would make me pass on moving to this place.  However, this is fiction.  Then they would have to have an interview with Monkford. Needless to say, not many are accepted. 

Both Emma and Jane prior to moving to One Folgate Street, had tragedies that affected them badly, making this residence seem like a fresh start, even with these restrictions.  The residence is also a beautiful different design, with high tech systems within.  Normally only the very rich could afford the rent, but these women were allowed to live at a cheaper rate.  This alone was a red flag right away. Emma was a victim of a burglary and sexual assault.  Jane, when she moved in, was suffering from the loss of her stillborn child.

 Edward Monkford himself was a hunk, but he also had his own issues having lost his wife and son years before.   As Emma’s and Jane’s story unfolds, we also learn they they both bear a resemblance to each other, as well as Edward’s wife.

Each chapter goes back and forth between both ladies narrating their time of residence, and fairly quickly we learn that Emma died in what could have been an accident or a possible murder. There is also Emma’s boyfriend, who resided for a bit in One Folgate Street, until Emma broke up with him, and entered an affair with Edward.  To this day, Emma’s death is unsolved. Jane finds herself obsessed with finding out more about Emma, and she too is in an affair with Edward. 

To tell too much more, and there is so much to tell, would be spoilers.  Will Jane be able to resolve how Emma died?  Will Jane get out of One Folgate Street or suffer the same fate as Emma.  What follows is an exciting thriller, as we watch Emma come closer to her final days; and watch Jane reach out to those who knew Emma to find the truth, putting her own life in danger. 

I will say that there were a few things I did not care for.  One being Emma, who was a strange and not very likable character.  I was also not crazy about the flipping around each chapter on the two main characters, which at times was confusing, causing me to go back to see who was talking.  Overall, this was a suspenseful exciting psychological thriller, which keeps you in suspense to the very end.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

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The Girl in the Picture by Alexandra Monir – a Review

The Girl in the Picture  by Alexandra Monir – a Review

 

The Girl in the PictureAmazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / BAM / The Book Depository

Description:
Nicole Morgan has been labeled many things — the geeky music girl, the shy sidekick to Miss Popularity, and the girl with the scar. Now only one name haunts her through the halls of Oyster Bay Prep.

The Girl in the Picture.

After high school heartthrob Chace Porter is found dead in the woods near the school, the police are in search of the girl whose picture with Chace is the only clue found amongst his personal belongings. A girl who no one knew was even close to Chace–and whose dormmate, Lana Rivera, was Chace’s girlfriend.

Nicole is that girl and now she’s the primary suspect in his murder.

But what really happened that night? Were Nicole and Chace dating behind Lana’s back; were he and Lana over? Could either of them have killed him?

Told in alternating points of view, that of our suspect, Nicole Morgan, and her former best friend and roommate, Lana Rivera, readers will piece together the story of a starcrossed love, a fractured friendship–and what really happened the night Chace was killed.

 

Review:

The Girl in the Picture by Alexandra Monir is a standalone YA mystery suspense novel.  This story is told in two pov’s, Nicole and Lana; with some from the boy in the middle, Chace, which will cover a year.  The story actually begins in current time, with the news of Chace’s murder. A picture is revealed, with Nicole and Chace together, and everyone is on Lana’s side as she was the one they felt was betrayed.  Hence the title, The Girl in the Picture.

In various snippets, where we go back and forth between the past and the present, we get to meet Nicole, the new girl at school, who is training to be an elite violinist and meets her roommate, Lana, who is Miss Popularity.  Nicole is quiet and sweet, while Lana is her opposite.  Lana, because of Nicole’s bright future, decides to accept her as a friend.

It is Lana, who will meet the new boy, Chace, and flirt with him to start a relationship. Nicole helps Lana, and is supportive of her dating Chace.  Along the way, Chace, who loves Nicole’s music, begins to fall hard for her.  Nicole, at first has no intention of getting in the middle, for fear of losing her friend.  Chace is persistent and Nicole finds herself falling for him.

In current time, Nicole is the main suspect, as everyone is willing to condemn her, including her now fierce enemy, Lana.  We also learn along the way, who was responsible for the terrible scar Nicole suffered.  This is a real murder mystery, which has us concentrating on any clues that will tell us who killed Chace.  We know Nicole is not the real culprit, but who is? I felt sorry for Nicole, as she truly did not want to fall for Chace, and wanted to tell Lana the truth.  In a major twist, the answers will be discovered that was a surprise, not to mention who was able to discover the truth.

To tell too much more would be spoilers.  What follows is a very nicely done mystery revolving around the two narrators of the story, with the unusual voice of Chace in the background.  Everything in the past, is laid out nicely, which leads to the present and the resolution.  It was very well written by Monir.  If you enjoy a YA themed background, with a murder mystery, you need to read this book.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

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Losing Lauren by Alretha Thomas – a Review

Losing Lauren by Alretha Thomas – a Review

 

Losing LaurenAmazon

Description:
Alexandra Winifred has played a supporting role in her cousin’s life since they were children. When Lauren Water’s parents are killed in a plane crash, Alexandra becomes her protector, and together they navigate their way through childhood and college. They’re both overachievers, but it’s Lauren who steals the spotlight when she’s discovered by a notable agent and goes on to become an award-winning actress, leaving Alexandra in her shadow as her fledgling publicist. Now Hollywood royalty, Lauren starts to cut those people out of her life who were responsible for her success. Alexandra fears she will be next on the chopping block. But her trepidation about her failing relationship with her cousin becomes her least concern when she’s identified as a prime suspect in Lauren’s subsequent disappearance. Detective Rachel Storme, who has a full plate taking care of a parent with Alzheimer’s and supervising a meth-addicted aunt, is eager to get her hands on a challenging case, but nothing could prepare her for the dark secrets and lies that she uncovers while she does everything in her power to find out what happened to Lauren.

 

Review:

Losing Lauren begins with Lauren having just won a best actress award and attending a party afterwards.  Alexandra has felt Lauren pulling away and asks her about it.  They agree to meet later to talk about everything going on with Lauren and part ways.  Alex heads home, only to receive a frantic phone call from Lauren’s fiancé that something has happened to Lauren.  When Alex arrives at Lauren’s, the scene before her leaves her mind spinning and her stomach churning. 

The police are called and the world, as Alex knows it, changes forever.  Detective Rachel Storme and her partner, Herb, eventually make the scene and discover that there is no body, but there is evidence of a crime.  As Rachel and her team try to piece together what happened, the list of suspects grows.  Lauren’s fiancé is a likely candidate, as is her management team.  Rachel interviews Alex as well, and even though Alex is a suspect, Rachel isn’t buying that she had anything to do with Lauren’s disappearance.  What follows are so many twists and turns that one minute, you KNOW who did it, only to be proven wrong a little later.  All Alex knows is that her world will never be the same.

Losing Lauren is yet another nicely written story by Alretha Thomas.  The characters in all of Ms. Thomas’s books are so relatable and real that you feel that you know them.  This story was no exception.  The plot twists will grab your attention and when the big reveal is made, your heart will break for what Lauren endured as a child.  Your heart will also break for Alex who will always wonder if she could have done more to protect her cousin and best friend. You will also fall even more in love with Detective Rachel Storme.  She is probably one of the most believable and realistic characters I’ve read about in a long time.  She is the daughter every mother would love to have.  She is the co-worker everyone would want, but even more than that, she is the person everyone would hope to be.  She loving, loyal and steadfast in her beliefs that right is right and wrong is wrong.  If you’re looking for a good mystery with lots of twists and turns, as well as wonderfully written characters, this one is definitely for you.  I look forward to the next installment in this series.  Well done, Alretha Thomas!  Very well done!!

Reviewed by Vickie

Copy supplied for review

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Race the Darkness by Abbie Roads – a Review

Race the Darkness by Abbie Roads – a Review

 

Race the DarknessAmazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / BAM / The Book Depository

Description:
Cursed with a terrible gift…

Criminal investigator Xander Stone doesn’t have to question you—he can hear your thoughts. Scarred by lightning, burdened with a power that gives him no peace, Xander struggles to maintain his sanity against the voice that haunts him day and night—the voice of a woman begging him to save her.

A gift that threatens to engulf them…

Isleen Walker has long since given up hope of escape from the nightmare of captivity and torture that is draining her life, her mind, and her soul. Except…there is the man in her feverish dreams, the strangely beautiful man who beckons her to freedom and wholeness. And when he comes, if he comes, it will take all their combined fury and faith to overcome a madman bent on fulfilling a deadly prophecy.

 

Review:

Race the Darkness by Abbie Roads is a dark paranormal romance story in her new Fatal Dreams series.  Xander Stone, our hero, is an investigator that helps the police department solve crimes.  Xander is not your normal investigator, as he has the ability to hear people thoughts. He was struck by lightning years before, leaving scars on his face and body, and also suffers pains in his head with the constant hearing of voices.   For years, he has been ignoring a cry for help from a woman, who he has no idea who or where she is.

Isleen Walker, our heroine, waits to die, to be put out of her misery.  It has been 8 years since she was kidnapped with her grandmother and  tortured daily.  She is on the brink of death, when Xander accidently finds and rescues her.  He uses his healing powers to make her better, and brings her and the grandmother to the hospital, where they will be under police protection. Xander learns that Isleen has her own powers;  she sees visions of things that are about to happen in the future.

Together they will embark to find out who is responsible for her kidnapping.  A slow build romance will follow with two people that are each suffering badly from their disabling abilities. They both feel the magic that pulls them to each other.  Will they survive the madness surrounding them?

What follows is an interesting, somewhat exciting and very dark story line, filled with madness, religious sadistic fanatics, and death.  This was a well written story with a different theme, but it was too dark for me to really enjoy.  I have read dark stories, but in this case you need to be invested in the characters to be able to enjoy the story.  In Race the Darkness, I just did not feel the chemistry between Xander and Isleen, nor did I like any of the other characters.  If you are into dark paranormal romances, you may want to give this a try.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

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Safe From Harm by Kate Serine -a Review

Safe From Harm by Kate Serine -a Review

 

Safe From HarmAmazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / BAM / The Book Depository

 

Description:
There’s something about prosecuting attorney Elle McCoy that Deputy Gabe Dawson just can’t get enough of. Even with Gabe’s family legacy in law enforcement and promising career, Elle’s smart, sassy rejection of all his charm makes Gabe want her even more.

But Gabe’s confidence is shaken when he’s shot on the steps of the courthouse, protecting Elle from a terrorist intent on revenge. Worse, Elle isn’t out of danger yet. But as they race to counter the terrorist’s next move, Gabe determines to prove to Elle—and himself—that he’s a man worthy of her.

 

Review:

Safe from Harm by Kate Serine is the 2nd book in her exciting Protect and Serve series.  I enjoyed the first book by Serine, and Safe from Harm is even better.  Gabe Dawson is our hero, and a sexy hunk who is known to be a love and leave them type.  Gabe comes from a law enforcement family, with members of the police force or the FBI.

 Elle McCoy is a prosecuting attorney, who has had a deep crush on Gabe when they were teenagers.  But Gabe felt Elle was too good for a bad boy like him, and pushed her off to his best friend.  Now that that they are both grown up, Elle hates Gabe, and he keeps trying to win her over not understanding why she hates him so.  One morning at the coffee shop, sitting with his best friend, he runs outside to get something and hears shots.  His friend is dead, and Gabe blames himself for not being there.  It will be Elle, who secretly does care about Gabe, to help snap him out of his drunken depression. The sparks fly, but Elle makes sure nothing happens.   After the murderer is found and convicted, there is another attempt on both Elle and Gabe’s lives, with the suspect shot dead. 

The villain in this story is the matriarch of a local family that hates law enforcement, and lives by his own rules, including forcing his family members to help him kill members of the Dawson family, including friends, as well as the prosecuting attorney, Elle.   This was one of the worst villains I have read.  What follows is an intense exciting story that will constantly bring our heroes in grave danger, with no evidence to prove who is behind the attempts, even if they know who.  What makes him even worse was what he made his children do, or he would hurt or kill them too.  This story had me a nervous wreck in some parts; as I began to read faster to see what happens. 

The romance between Gabe and Elle was a slow build, with them bonding in need to help each other against a vile enemy.  Gabe will work hard to convince Elle that he is not the womanizer she thinks he is, and he does indeed care about her.  I did love them together, and their chemistry was scorching hot, as they gave into their true feelings.

This was an exciting, tense, action filled story, with an evil villain.  It was also a nice sexy romance, with a great couple that kept us rooting hard for them to make it together.  Kate Serine does a fabulous job of writing this story that had us tense and desperate to find out what happens at the end.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

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In the Line of Duty by Carolyn Arnold – a Review

In the Line of Duty by Carolyn Arnold – a Review

 

In The Line of Duty
Madison Knight series – Book #7
by Carolyn Arnold
Release Date: September 29, 2016

In the Line of DutyAmazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / BAM / The Book Depository

Description:
He devoted his life to seeking justice. But would she get any for him?

It was an ordinary day for police officer Barry Weir. It was the end of shift, he was tired, and he just wanted to get home to his wife and kids. But someone had other plans for him, shooting him down and forcing him to make the ultimate sacrifice.

When news of Weir’s murder reaches the department, it leaves Detective Madison Knight and every cop in the Stiles PD itching for revenge. It cuts Madison’s boyfriend, colleague, and Weir’s childhood friend, Troy Matthews, deepest of all, driving him away from everyone he loves just when they need one another the most.

With evidence pointing to a gang-related drive-by, Madison and her team investigate the town’s seedy underbelly in search of justice for their fallen brother. But the deeper they dig, the more convoluted the case becomes. Now they need to figure out if this was a random shooting as part of a gang initiation, a straight-up hate crime, or a targeted kill. But with members of the Stiles PD under attack, they have to do it fast…before more officers pay with their lives.

 

 

Review:

In The Line of Duty by Carolyn Arnold is the 7th book of her Madison Knight series.  One thing you can be certain when reading this series; Carolyn Arnold will give us an intense exciting murder mystery, as well as provide us with accurate details pertaining to police procedurals.   When it comes to police investigations & procedurals no one does it better than Arnold.  Madison Knight is a tough detective, who will let nothing stand in her way to find the guilty.

A policemen is murdered in what is suspected to be a gang killing, and the entire Stiles PD are working together to find the murderers.  There were a number of twists that continued to change the game, as to who was truly behind the killing; with some surprises all the way through. 

In the Line of Duty was also a complete turnaround for Madison; something I have been asking for quite some time.   Madison has finally found love in her boyfriend Troy, who is the leader of the Swat team.  Her friend Cynthia has also stepped up to be a good friend, not to mention a great medical examiner.  The Stiles PD Sergeant has finally opened his eyes as to the value of Madison as a top notch detective.  Things changed in this book that I absolutely loved, and Madison finally has a team surrounding her, and the respect she so deserves.   Thank you, Carolyn.

Rather than give spoilers, In the Line of Duty was a great story, with lots of action, precise investigations, many suspects, and a team atmosphere to solve the crime.   I loved seeing Madison falling in love with Troy, and finding time to care about and enjoy her friends.  I enjoyed this story so much; I could not put the book down; especially with new developments changing constantly.  This story was very exciting and well written.  If you enjoy mysteries, murder cops, police procedurals and a tough as nails cop, then you need to be reading this series.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Author

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