Rating: 3 1/2 ♥’s
Published: June 9, 2022
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 309

Book Description: The moon shines through the open window, bathing the woman in pale light. Blood-red wine from a shattered glass soaks into the cream blanket beside her, and her dull eyes stare vacantly at the framed photograph in her hand.
When beautiful wife and mother Alicia Gordon is found dead in a remote woodland cabin, Detective Amanda Steele is shocked to discover that she knows the husband. Amanda hasn’t spoken to Tony since she lost the love of her own life seven years ago, and seeing tragedy tearing her old friend’s family apart brings back so many painful memories.
Alicia was alone when she died, but she was so young, and Amanda can’t help feeling suspicious. Then she discovers that Alicia’s sleep medication had been tampered with, slowly poisoning her over several days. Amanda wants to trust that the sorrow on Tony’s face is real, but the more she digs into his marriage, the more it seems that he had opportunity, and motive…
Interviewing one of Alicia’s old colleagues, Amanda is shaken to her core when the woman suddenly collapses in her arms, dying in seconds from a lethal dose of the same poison that killed Alicia. But what could link this woman to Tony?
With her partner blaming Amanda for not arresting Tony immediately, she needs to prove that he isn’t the killer, or accept that the second woman’s death could be on her hands. She’s running out of time and leads when she discovers threatening messages sent to both victims. It’s the final clue to unmasking the most twisted killer Amanda has ever come up against, and to stop them she’ll have to risk everything…

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I am always excited when I get the email asking if I want to continue the next book in the Detective Amanda Steele series. This is the first full series of Carolyn Arnold’s that I have read and have enjoyed them.

Overall I thought the book was good. I am not sure I got as into it as I did the others in the series though. I think one reason is that I wish the suspect in the case wasn’t someone from Amanda’s past again. It just seems that I wanted it to be different and not have Amanda waging with her loyalty to friends and her job as a detective. She did do what was needed on the case but I felt the story was slightly overtaken by her trying to justify her not doing things the same because of the suspect being a friend. However, I thought the book was still good and a good continuation of the series.

I still like the main characters, Amanda and Trent, and yes I am still rooting for them at some point to become an item, even if Amanda right now is denying it can happen since they are partners. We don’t see a ton of Malone this time, which works for the story, however, I do like him and am glad we still get to see Amanda’s connection to him some in the story. We see a few old friends of Amanda’s that are involved in the case and you get to learn a little more about her life. Overall they were fine characters, but I didn’t become that connected to them.

The plot was good and the story flowed fairly well. You kept guessing who the killer might be and what their motive was. I did start to think I had it figured out as the book got close to the end. It was actually sad to see why the killer did it and you felt some empathy for them, but obviously not enough to justify the murder. I wanted more at the end of the book some, especially since she left Trent behind when she figured it out. Again that could be partially because I want them together so had hoped they would have a moment together, but it seems like I might be in luck in the next book. I also look forward to her take with CSI Blaire and how that pans out!

I think this I a fun series and am looking forward to reading the 6th book when it comes out and seeing what other crazy murder mysteries Amanda has to solve and also the development of her and Zoe’s life.

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