Tag Archives: serial killers

Review: Dangerous Passage, by Lisa Harris

Dangerous Passage, by Lisa Harris (Revell, 2013)Dangerous Passage, by Lisa Harris

When a second Jane Doe is found dead in Atlanta, Georgia, Detective Avery North fears she’s dealing with a serial killer. Can she find—and stop—him before another young woman dies?

As a single mom, Avery’s life is filled with work and family. She barely has time for a pedicure, so how could she add a relationship with the handsome medical examiner, Jackson Bryant? Or is she simply afraid to let herself love again?

The hunt for a serial killer uncovers a twisted net of illegal arms shipments and human trafficking. And the killer’s mind games threaten Avery’s stability. Especially when it looks like there’s a connection with the unsolved murder of her brother, an undercover officer killed in the line of duty.

I enjoyed the mystery and the action in this novel, as well as the glimpses of how Avery learns to balance work, family, faith and personal breathing space. We’re not all detectives, but most of us have more to do in our days than time to do it, and it’s good to see how other people handle this struggle.

Forgiveness is another key theme in the novel. Avery and family have lost her brother, Michael, and she blames another member of the force. There’s no proof—yet. But she can’t stop digging. Michael’s case isn’t solved in this novel, and I expect to see more of it in the next book in the Southern Crimes series.

Lisa Harris is an award-winning author of inspirational romance and suspense. She and her husband are serving as missionaries in Mozambique. For more about the author, check out her website: lisaharriswrites.com.

[Review copy from my personal library.]

Review: Butterfly Palace, by Colleen Coble

Butterfly Palace by Colleen CobleButterfly Palace, by Colleen Coble (Thomas Nelson, 2014)

In 1904 Lily Donaldson leaves small-town Texas to work for the wealthy Marshall family in Austin. It’s not the best time to enter domestic service in the city, with the Servant Girl Killer on the loose. When Lily saves a young woman from an attacker, does she catch his attention?

Lily is a confident young woman, hard-working and skilled, but the opulent home they call the Butterfly Palace takes a bit of getting used to. And she’s creeped out by Mr. Marshall’s collection of exotic butterflies.

She’s even more upset to meet her former fiancé, who deserted her at her father’s death. He’s using an assumed name, Drew Hawkes, and passing himself off as a businessman. Drew is a guest in her employers’ home, so Lily can’t avoid him—or the hurt that seeing him brings. She discovers he’s working with the Secret Service to break a counterfeiting ring.

Lily is assigned as ladies’ maid to Belle, the family’s beautiful niece. Belle has her eye on Drew, but her aunt and uncle have a more suitable match in mind. At first this looks like the familiar story of good servant vs. shallow rich woman, but the story doesn’t stop there.

Belle has been sheltered all her life, but she’s intelligent and courageous. When she discovers a plot to kill her uncle, Drew connects it to the counterfeiters. Despite their differences, Belle and Lily team up to help Drew uncover the villains. Will they be in time to save Mr. Marshall’s life?

I had no idea butterfly collecting was such a big thing among the rich of the day: sending explorers to Africa to collect specimens and cocoons, flaunting the owner’s latest acquisitions, and rivalry among collectors.

Butterfly Palace is another richly-crafted romantic suspense from best-selling author Colleen Coble, who writes both historical and contemporaries. For more about the author and her many books, visit her website. Or click directly to her Butterfly Palace page to view the trailer—and discover why this book has such a special place in the author’s heart. To read a preview, visit the Thomas Nelson site.

[A review copy was received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.]

Review: Gone to Ground, by Brandilyn Collins

Gone to Ground, by Brandilyn CollinsGone to Ground, by Brandilyn Collins (B&H Publishing Group, 2012)

Amaryllis, Mississippi, is like any other small town. Except for the serial killer.

Gone to Ground opens with an excerpt from the (fictional) Pulitzer-prize-winning article on the first five killings, by local-born journalist Trent Williams. Portions of the article appear throughout the novel to give readers more background.

When a sixth victim is found, three Amaryllis women know who killed her. They each have evidence. They’re each afraid to go to the police. And each one would name a different man.

Brandilyn Collins gives us three vibrant, believable characters: Cherrie Mae is a widow who cleans houses, and she’s getting up in years; Tully is barely 20 and pregnant, with an abusive husband; Deena operates a hairdressing salon and used to be married to one of Amaryllis’ police officers.

The three women take turns telling the story, each one in first person. That doesn’t usually work for me but it does in this story because each of the three has a distinct voice.

Chapter headers tell us who’s sharing this part of the narrative, but I always knew even if I forgot to look. Cherrie Mae, Tully and Deena have similar southern accents, but they’re each so focused on what they know (or fear they know) that it’s easy to tell who’s talking by what they’re talking (and thinking) about.

One thing they agree on: the police chief may be more interested in making an arrest than in getting the right man. Unless they can solve the mystery and present proof he can’t ignore.

Best-selling suspense author Brandilyn Collins is one of my favourites in the genre, and I look forward to each new release. Gone to Ground is a satisfying read with a well-crafted plot and appealing characters. I especially liked Cherrie Mae.

Visit Brandilyn Collins’ website to view a trailer for the novel and read an excerpt.

Other reviews of Gone to Ground: TitleTrakk.comReading with Monie, The Suspense Zone (spoiler alert), Book Reviews from an Avid Reader and The Random Thoughts of Crazy Mandy.

[Review copy from my personal library.]