Broken Falcon (Evidence #12) by Rachel Grant (audiobook) – Narrated by Greg Tremblay & Nicol Zanzarella

broken falcon

This title may be downloaded from Audible via Amazon

Chase Johnston is leading a double life. After two years of psychological torment, the quiet, highly skilled Raptor operative now has a darker side, and he’s hellbent on bringing human-traffickers to justice – using any means necessary. The only relief he finds for his troubled mind is a woman he’ll never meet in person.

Eden O’Keeffe is also leading a double life. By day she’s a grad student and barista, but at night she sits in front of a camera and provides companionship for those seeking entertainment, titillation, or simple conversation. She enjoys the freedom of being a siren online, but her secret career comes with risks that force her to hide her true identity at all costs.

When Chase walks into a coffee shop and comes face to face with the one person who makes him feel again, it seems his long nightmare may be coming to an end. But in entering Eden’s world, he’s bringing that nightmare – and the danger that comes with it – to her doorstep.

Rating: Narration – A; Content – B

I’ve been eagerly looking forward to Broken Falcon – book twelve in Rachel Grant’s terrific Evidence series – for months. Ms. Grant is my favourite author of romantic suspense, and I’m always impressed by her ability to craft tense and exciting stories with clever plots and interesting, engaging characters. Also, this book’s hero, Chase Johnston, was an important secondary character in Incriminating Evidence, one of my series favourites – if you haven’t read or listened to it, I’d recommend doing so before this, as Chase’s backstory is incredibly important to this story (note – there are spoilers in this review) and given his role in that book, I was especially keen to find out what happened to him ‘after’ and for him to find love and get his own HEA.

When we catch up with Chase at the beginning of the book, we find out that he’s devoting much of his free time to preventing runaway teens from being sucked into a sex-trafficking ring. Together with Isabel Dawson, the wife of Senator – and Raptor boss – Alec Ravissant, Chase helps the teens to get to a shelter set up specially to help prevent them being sent back to abusive family situations. He’s fairly sure the trafficking ring is linked to a legitimate business, a cam-girl site called Cam Dames – although he hasn’t yet been able to find any evidence to tie the two together. On this particular evening, Chase has cut things a bit fine; it takes longer than he’d expected to persuade the girl he’s ‘intercepting’ to go into the next-door coffee shop to meet with Isabel, and she has only just gone inside when a couple of goons show up looking for their quarry. Chase is Raptor’s expert in unarmed combat (having learned martial arts from a very young age, he’s got Mad Ninja Skillz!) and it doesn’t take him long to run them off.

You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals.

Don’t Look Now by Mary Burton (audiobook) – Narrated by Hillary Huber, Alan Carlson, Kirt Graves, Heather Firth, Zara Eden & Joyce Oben

don't look now

This title may be downloaded from Audible via Amazon

Austin homicide detective Jordan Poe is hunting a serial killer she fears is the same man who assaulted her sister, Avery, two years ago. The details line up: the victims are the same age, same type, dead by the same grim MO. Luckily Avery survived. But the terrible memories linger, making Jordan more determined than ever to stop this monster in his tracks.

Texas Ranger Carter Spencer isn’t one to poach on a detective’s territory. Yet no matter how resentful a capable lone wolf like Jordan is, when she is attacked at a third crime scene and suffers a trauma that leaves her with limited vision, it’s up to Carter to help Jordan navigate a world she no longer recognizes. He needs her instinct, her experience, and her fearless resolve to crack this case. A case that’s about to get even darker.

A stranger is watching. He’s closing in on his ultimate prey. And no one but the killer can see what’s coming.

Rating: Narration – B-; Content – B-

Mary Burton’s Don’t Look Now is a standalone suspense/police procedural novel in which a homicide detective has to confront the possibility that the serial killer she’s now trying to apprehend may be the same person who assaulted her younger sister a couple of years earlier. The book gets off to a bit of a slow start and I almost put it aside to return to later, but it picked up after a few chapters and became a lot more interesting.

We’re plunged right in to the deranged world of the serial killer in the prologue, which depicts the gruesome assault and death of their latest victim. It’s not blood-and-guts gory and I’m not squeamish, but I did find it made for uncomfortable listening. I’m sure that was the intention, but I’m starting to become tired of the way so many thrillers use sickening violence against women as a basic premise. That’s a different issue however and I’m not going to discuss it here; I chose to listen to Don’t Look Now knowing the storyline and I’m not going to diss it on account of a plot point I knew about in advance.

You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals.

Cold As Ice (Cold Justice – The Negotiators #5) by Toni Anderson (audiobook) – Narrated by Eric G. Dove

cold as ice Anderson

This title may be downloaded from Audible via Amazon

When Darby O’Roarke wakes up in a strange house with a dead man – with no memory of what happened – she knows who she has to call: FBI Supervisory Special Agent Eban Winters…the man she fell for, and who rejected her, last summer.

A negotiator isn’t supposed to get involved with kidnap victims, and Eban has been trying to avoid the temptation that is Darby O’Roarke ever since they met. One frantic phone call has him racing to Alaska to uncover the truth, but he faces stubborn opposition from the local police, and a growing media frenzy.

Getting Darby released from jail and keeping her safe is his first priority. When another woman is brutally slain, evidence emerges that suggests Darby is being framed, and that the culprit is a vicious serial killer who has eluded the FBI for more than a decade…and, now, the killer has Darby in their sights.

Rating: Narration – B; Content – B

In this fifth instalment of Toni Anderson’s Cold Justice: The Negotiators series, we catch up with a couple of the secondary characters from a previous book in the series. In book two, (Colder Than Sin) CNU (Crisis Negotiation Unit) operative Eban Winters had been part of the team sent to effect the rescue of Darby O’Roarke, an American Ph.D student in Indonesia who was kidnapped and held hostage by an extremist group and subjected to violence and sexual abuse. (Note: this story references Darby’s experiences several times, although there is nothing graphic on the page). Since surviving her ordeal, Darby has, with the help of extensive therapy, been putting her life back together and has resumed her studies (she’s a volcanologist) at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

When Cold as Ice begins, Darby is waking up in strange surroundings, her mind a bit foggy, and it takes her a while to work out where she is. She remembers being at a party with colleagues the previous evening, and is and lying on a sofa in someone’s living room, relieved to find herself fully dressed. Darby then recognises the room as belonging to a fellow grad student, Martin Carstairs, and recalls dancing with him and a group of friends at the party and generally having fun – but she doesn’t have any recollection of much after that, and has no idea how she got to Martin’s place. Maybe she had too much to drink and he was looking out for her? Trying to get her mind straight, she tidies up a little and then makes her way cautiously upstairs to see if Martin is in the house. He is. On his bed. With a hunting knife sticking out of his chest.

You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals.

Diversion (Diversion #1) by Eden Winters (audiobook) – Narrated by Darcy Stark

diversion winters

This title may be downloaded from Audible via Amazon

There are good guys, bad guys, and then there’s Lucky.

Former drug trafficker Richmond “Lucky” Lucklighter flaunts his past like a badge of honor. He speaks his mind, doesn’t play nice, and flirts with disaster while working off his sentence with the Southeastern Narcotics Bureau. If he can keep out of trouble a while longer he’ll be a free man – after he trains his replacement.

Textbook-quoting, by-the-book Bo Schollenberger is everything Lucky isn’t. Lucky slurps coffee; Bo lives caffeine free. Lucky worships bacon; Bo eats tofu. Lucky trusts no one; Bo calls suspects by their first names. Yet when the chips are down on their shared case of breaking up a drug diversion ring, they may have more in common than they believe.

Two men. Close quarters. Friction results in heat. But Lucky scoffs at partnerships, no matter how thrilling the roller-coaster. Bo has two months to break down Lucky’s defenses…and seconds are ticking by.

Rating: Narration – A-; Content – A-

Another deep-dive into the Audible library of-the-as-yet-unlistened-to produced the box set of the first three books in Eden Winters’ Diversion series (there are nine books in all, available individually or in three sets of three) – aptly entitled, Diversion. It’s a well-plotted, fast-paced tale of romantic suspense featuring two complex, damaged leads; it’s funny, sexy and full of terrific banter (so it’s basically my catnip!) and I was hooked in pretty quickly by both the intriguing premise and by Darcy Stark’s excellent narration. All in all, my reaction when I finished listening was “Why the hell did I wait so long???”

As the story opens we meet Richmond E. Lucklighter – Lucky (don’t ever call him Ritchie!) – as he plans the theft of a delivery truck due to depart from a warehouse facility in Raleigh. It’s clear he really knows what he’s doing; it’s also clear he’s cantankerous, sharp-tongued, prickly and intolerant – in other words (and his own) a “card-carrying asshole”. Lucky’s careful and clever planning means he gets away with the theft of three-point-five million dollars’ worth of pharmaceutical products – a serious blow to the company who owns it, Regency Pharma Inc.

You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals.

Right Behind Her (Bree Taggert #4) by Melinda Leigh (audiobook) – Narrated by Christina Traister

right behind her

This title may be downloaded from Audible via Amazon

Twenty-seven years ago, Sheriff Bree Taggert’s father killed her mother, then himself. Now Bree and her younger brother, Adam, find human bones on the grounds of their abandoned family farm. The remains are those of a man and a woman, both murdered in the same horrible way.

When the investigation determines the murders occurred thirty years ago, Bree’s dead father becomes a suspect, forcing Bree to revisit the brutal night she’s spent most of her life trying to forget. The only other suspect is an unlikely squatter on the Taggert farm who claims to know secrets about Bree’s past. When he mysteriously disappears and Bree’s niece is kidnapped, the cold case heats up.

Bree has stoked the rage of a murderer who’ll do anything to keep his identity – and motives – a secret. To protect everyone she loves, Bree must confront a killer.

Rating: Narration – C+; Content- B

Right Behind Her is the fourth book in Melinda Leigh’s series of romantic suspense novels featuring Bree Taggert, a former homicide detective who is now sheriff of Grey’s Hollow in upstate New York. While each one comprises a self-contained mystery plot, these books really do need to be read in order, so as to be able to follow and understand Bree’s journey from hard-nosed cop who never wanted to see her home town again to a woman making a life and a family there. In the first book, Cross Her Heart, Bree returned to Grey’s Hollow after the murder of her younger sister and realised she needed to stay in order to look after her niece Kayla (eight) and nephew Luke (sixteen) – even though she didn’t have the faintest idea about raising kids. As the series has progressed, we’ve seen her slowly settling into her new roles – professional and personal – although her path has been strewn with realistic obstacles, both internal and external, from dealing with the aftermath of the corruption she uncovered in the sheriff’s department to the continuing fall-out of her own personal trauma – her father was a violent man who killed her mother and then himself when Bree was just eight years old, and it’s clear that she has never really processed or dealt with it. It’s also left her very cautious about forming relationships – which means she’s spent the last couple of books keeping her love interest – investigator and K9 handler Matt Flynn – at a distance, while he begins to worry that she may never be ready or able to commit to him emotionally.

When Right Behind Her opens, Bree and her younger brother Adam – who was just a baby when their parents died – are paying a visit to their former family home, which Adam (now a very successful artist) has recently purchased. It’s hard for Bree, but she wants to be there for her brother, who is clearly looking for some sort of connection to a past he has no memory of. Privately, Bree thinks it’s better that way. As they’re leaving, Bree hears sounds coming from the nearby barn; she identifies herself and enters cautiously, only to be attacked by whoever is inside. The man runs, but Bree manages to subdue him, and once backup arrives and she hands him off, she realises the backpack he was carrying is missing. She, her deputies and Adam start looking for it, but find more than they bargained for when Bree finds the backpack – and Adam finds some old bones. Human remains that are later shown to be those of a man and a woman who were murdered around thirty years before. And the man had clearly been tortured.

You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals.

Survival Instinct (Cerberus Tactical K9 series #1) by Fiona Quinn (audiobook) – Narrated by James Cavenaugh

survival instinct

This title may be downloaded from Audible via Amazon

Military training won’t help when the enemy is a force of nature….
All Major Dani Addams wanted when she started up that trail was to mourn and honor her fallen friend. She has no way of knowing the weather is about to turn on her in the worst possible way – or that she’s about to meet a man who will change her entire life.

Ex-SEAL Trip Williams and his K9 Valor were brought in to rescue a film crew that got caught in the storm. He isn’t expecting Dani. But once he finds her, he will keep her safe…even if he has to disobey direct orders and fight Mother Nature herself.
All Dani and Trip have to do to get to happily ever after is weather the storm. Should be simple, right? If only….

Rating: Narration – C+; Content – D

In one of our recent Currently Playing chats behind the scenes at AudioGals, I mentioned that I’d just listened to Fiona Quinn’s Survival Instinct and what a disappointment it was. Kaetrin responded that she’d listened to it as well and had enjoyed it – and as life would be very boring if we all liked the same things, I suggested we expand my initial review to include her thoughts and comments, as her views might resonate with some listeners and mine with others. So here’s our first ever joint review!

Caz: I’m sorry if I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but Fiona Quinn’s Survival Instinct – book one in her Cerberus Tactical K9 series – turned out to be yet another in a sadly long line of romantic suspense stories that are neither romantic nor suspenseful. I’ve listened to and enjoyed a few books by this author, but basing my decision to pick this one upon past listens was a bad one in this instance, because after a strong start, it went rapidly downhill and never recovered.

You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals.

Relative Justice (Hazard and Somerset: Arrows in the Hand #1) by Gregory Ashe

relative justice

This title may be purchased from Amazon

An impossible son. An impossible murder.

The honeymoon is definitely over.

When Emery Hazard and his husband, John-Henry Somerset, arrive home from their honeymoon, they’re shocked (understatement of the year) to find a boy waiting for them on their doorstep. Colt, fifteen and eager to pick a fight, claims to be Hazard’s son. It’s almost a relief, then, for Hazard and Somers to be called out to assist the Dore County Sheriff’s Department with what seems to be an impossible murder: a man has been found stabbed to death in a stretch of woods, and the only set of footprints in the soft ground belong to the victim.

The more Hazard and Somers learn about the dead man, the more confusing the case becomes. While searching his home, they discover a secure room from which several high-end computers have been stolen. A woman makes a daring theft as the house is being secured and escapes with valuable documents. The dead man’s neighbor, who found the body, is obviously lying about how she discovered him. And something very strange is going on with the victim’s sons, who are isolated at school and seem to have found their few friends through the youth group at a local church–and in a close relationship with the hip, young, attractive pastor.

An attempt on Colt’s life leaves Hazard’s (possible) son in the hospital. When Hazard and Somers learn that the attack came after Colt tried to investigate the murder on his own, they realize he is now in the killer’s crosshairs, and Hazard and Somers must race to uncover the truth. The results from the paternity test aren’t back yet, but father or not, Emery Hazard isn’t going to let anyone harm a child.

Rating: A

Relative Justice is book one in Gregory Ashe’s latest series to feature Emery Hazard and John-Henry Somerset, Hazard and Somerset: Arrows in the Hand, and even though it’s the start of a new series, it’s most definitely NOT the place to start if you’ve never picked up a H&S book before.  Going back to start at Pretty Pretty Boys – eleven books and quite-a-few novellas ago – may seem like a daunting prospect, but I promise it’s well worth it, and by doing that you’ll gain a much greater understanding of the characters and their relationship, which has been through many, many ups and downs – and I suspect there are likely more to come!

Note: There are spoilers for the previous books in the series in this review.

After surviving both major relationship issues AND being the target of a deranged killer, by the end of The Keeper of Bees (the final book in the previous series) Hazard and Somers finally made it down the aisle.  But nothing is ever simple where these two are concerned, and they return from their honeymoon to find a dark-haired teenaged boy waiting on the doorstep who promptly announces to them that he’s Hazard’s son.

Jet-lagged and tired after a long journey, Hazard… doesn’t handle the news well and has a minor meltdown, insisting that whoever this kid is there is absolutely NO WAY he can be his father and the boy must be running some sort of scam, while Somers tries to be the voice of reason and to calm things down before they get any worse. He insists they can’t just leave the kid on the street and says he should stay the night at least, so they can all get some sleep and then work out what to do in the morning.  Hazard is still fuming, and stomps out – but only as far as neighbours Noah and Rebeca’s place where he starts to calm down and to think rationally about what to do next.

When he’s made some calls – and learned that unless the boy – Colt – can stay with them for the time being, he’ll have to go to a group home or a residential facility – Hazard decides he can stay put for a short while, at least until the results of the paternity test he’s taken come back, and he takes Colt to enrol at the High School.  In the meantime, Somers – now Chief of Police Somerset – has been approached by Sheriff Engels for help investigating a rather baffling murder, and is specifically asked to involve Hazard as well.

You can read the rest of this review at All About Romance.

Conscious Decisions of the Heart (More Heat Than the Sun #2) by John Wiltshire (audiobook) – Narrated by Gary Furlong

conscious decisions of the heart

This title may be downloaded from Audible via Amazon

Ben Rider and Nikolas Mikkelsen learn that danger comes in all shapes and sizes and often in places you least expect it. Nikolas’ dark past calls to him, inexorably dragging him back into its seductive embrace.

While he goes on an errand of mercy to Russia, Ben travels to Denmark to learn Nikolas’s language. Convinced Russia’s vastness will swallow Nikolas, Ben doesn’t see the enemy much closer to home. Thinking he has lost Nikolas, Ben then makes a terrible decision that threatens to destroy everything they have together.

Focused on this very personal horror, bound by a new level of commitment, they have no idea that a greater threat is coming. And when it arrives, it changes everything – even the definition of commitment.

Rating: Narration – A; Content – B

When I reviewed Love is a Stranger, book one in John Wiltshire’s More Heat Than the Sun series, I said that I suspected I was in for a run of enjoyable hokum over the course of the set of (so far) eight-books – fast-paced and frequently bonkers plotlines that require a large suspension of disbelief and an epic love story featuring two complex, damaged individuals. Well, now I’ve listened to book two, Conscious Decisions of the Heart, I can say with certainty that’s definitely the case. The plot moves swiftly and is twistier than a twisty game of Twister, the connection between Ben and Nik is growing deeper, they still have lots and lots of sex (although Nik, despite his immense fortune, never seems to buy any lube), and while they aren’t always nice, they’re nonetheless completely irresistible. But there are a few things in this one that made me more than a bit uncomfortable; there are a couple of mysoginistic rants that are not cool and an instance of non-con which is kinda shocking. The pacing around the middle flags a bit, the plot meanders, and Ben and Nik are emotionally exhausting, but despite all that, I’m completely addicted.

You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals.

Madison Square Murders (Memento Mori #1) by C.S. Poe

madison square murders (2)

This title may be purchased from Amazon

Everett Larkin works for the Cold Case Squad: an elite—if understaffed and overworked—group of detectives who solve the forgotten deaths of New York City. Larkin is different from others, but his deduction skills are unmatched and his memory for minute details is unparalleled.

So when a spring thunderstorm uproots a tree in Madison Square Park, unearthing a crate with human remains inside, the best Cold Case detective is assigned the job. And when a death mask, like those prominent during the Victorian era, is found with the body, Larkin requests assistance from the Forensic Artists Unit and receives it in the form of Detective Ira Doyle, his polar opposite in every way.

Factual reasoning and facial reconstruction puts Larkin and Doyle on a trail of old homicide cases and a murderer obsessed with casting his victims’ likeness in death. Include some unapologetic flirting from Doyle, and this case just may end up killing Everett Larkin.

Rating: A

Madison Square Murders, the first book in C.S. Poe’s new Memento Mori series, is a compelling read featuring an intriguing, cleverly constructed mystery and one of the most unusual lead characters I’ve ever come across, a neuroatypical detective in New York City whose unique memory condition makes him an outstanding detective while at the same time causing him to struggle with anxiety, social interaction and the ability to function properly at even a basic – what most of us might consider ‘normal’ – level.

When a crate containing human remains is unearthed after a tree in Madison Square Park is uprooted by a spring thunderstorm, Detective Everett Larkin of the Cold Case Squad is called to the scene.  The remains are clearly not new or recent, and although Larkin will have to wait for official confirmation, initial findings indicate that the deceased was a young man in his twenties – and most unusually, there’s what appears to be a bronze casting of a face tucked in near his feet.  It’s an impressive piece of work artistically – but there’s no way of knowing if it’s a cast of the victim’s face or of someone totally unrelated.  The CSU at the scene suggests the casting is a death mask – and that Larkin should get in touch with Detective Ira Doyle, one of NYPD’s small team of forensic artists, to get some expert advice.

Ira Doyle is something of a surprise to Larkin.  Optimistic, flirtatious and always ready with a quip and a smile, he proves not only to be a talented artist and knowledgeable about his subject, but also very competent detective, able to keep up with Larkin’s not-always-easy-to-follow thought processes and not fazed by his… quirks.  Doyle sets to work straight away, and in less than twenty-four hours, his facial reconstruction coupled with Larkin’s deep-dive into hundreds of missing person reports has enabled them to give a forgotten man his identify back and to work out that they’re investigating a murder that took place twenty-two years earlier.  As Larkin and Doyle dig deeper, it becomes apparent that this wasn’t the killer’s first or only victim; nor was this the first or only death mask to have been made. They’re looking for an as yet unidentified serial killer.

Madison Square Murders was a hard book to put down!  The mystery is superbly constructed and satisfyingly complex without being either overcomplicated or too easily unravelled, and there’s a lovely opposites-attract romance building between Larkin and Doyle that’s very clearly based on the solid foundations of genuine mutual respect and understanding.  But what really puts this book into the DIK bracket is the characters, especially Larkin, who is a fantastic protagonist and unlike anyone I’ve ever read before.  He’s fiercely intelligent and doesn’t make a secret of it, but personally, he’s a hot mess, unsure, deeply damaged and finding it increasingly difficult to keep it together.  His HSAM (Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory) is often (thoughtlessly) admired by others, but for him it’s not so much a gift as it is a curse. It means he’s unable to forget a single tragedy or misfortune once he’s learned of it, the “rolodex” in his mind always moving and flipping between one association and the next, while his short term memory is hopeless and he can’t function from one hour to the next without a detailed daily plan.  Not helping matters right now is his disintegrating marriage; Larkin is starting to realise that his husband doesn’t really know him and doesn’t want to – possibly that he never wanted to – and despite all his promises that Larkin wouldn’t have to hide his quirks at home, seems to have believed all along that Larkin could and would change. The way the author illuminates Larkin’s inner world is simply brilliant; his words and thoughts, his feelings, his insecurities and his deep-seated need to be seen and understood, all are expertly – sometimes heartbreakingly – well communicated and bring this unique character vividly to life.

Ira Doyle is the perfect foil for him despite their outward differences. In complete contrast to Larkin, Doyle is laid-back and charming with a killer smile, but as Larkin very quickly discerns, he’s also whip-smart and a very good detective as well as a talented artist.  More importantly, Doyle seems to instinctively know just the right thing to say or do to stop Larkin spiralling or make him feel comfortable when he becomes overloaded by impressions and associations, and Larkin slowly starts to realise that here, in a person he’s known for less than three days, he’s found someone who sees him more clearly than anyone ever has – even his husband.  He also works out that there’s more to Doyle than his bright smile and easy-going manner would suggest, that the reason he’s so good at putting Larkin at ease is that he has his own demons to slay, that he, too, has suffered loss and heartbreak – it’s just that he’s much better at hiding it.  Doyle may not be as obviously colourful a character as Larkin, but he’s no mere sidekick and is equally well-written and fleshed-out.

The story takes place over just a few days, but the progress of the relationship is perfect, not too fast, not too slow, but a careful progression from colleagues to friends to the possibility of more in the future, and the mystery reaches a satisfactory conclusion – although (and I should be used to this from Ms. Poe by now!) there’s a cliffhanger designed to lead into the next book.

Madison Square Murders is a cracking read and a terrific series opener.  Book two can’t arrive soon enough!

Nothing But Good by Kess McKinley (audiobook) – Narrated by Kirt Graves

nothing but good

This title may be downloaded from Audible via Amazon

Special Agent Jefferson Haines puts the “order” in law and order. Meal kits. Gray suits. Consistent reps at the gym. But all his routines are thrown into chaos when he’s called in to catch a serial killer whose MO is the stuff of urban legend: the Smiley Face Killer.

Dripping paint. Wicked slashes for eyes. The taunting curl of a smiling mouth. After years evading capture, the serial killer is back again. As Jefferson races to stop the next attack, the investigation leads to the one man he thought he’d never see again, Fred “Finny” Ashley.

Finny has his own theories about the killer. And they’re pretty good. Maybe too good. Now, with his career on the line, Jefferson has to figure out if his onetime best friend is the culprit or the next victim.

Rating: Narration – B+; Content – B

Kess McKinley’s début novel Nothing but Good is a well-constructed and enjoyable mystery/procedural in which a tightly controlled, buttoned-up FBI agent investigating a number of serial murders encounters an unexpected complication in the form of the former best friend on whom he’d had a huge crush. I read this one when it came out back in May, and when I saw that Kirt Graves was narrating the audio version, I decided to revisit it.

Special Agent Jefferson Haynes and his partner, Special Agent Caroline Pelley, are called in when the body of a young man is pulled out of the water in Boston Harbour, another victim of the “Smiley Face Killer”, so-called because he leaves a very distinct calling card which, in this case, is a huge painted smiley face on the wall just by where the body was found. The SFK has killed a number of young men – all of them found in bodies of water – over the last decade, but has so far eluded capture.

You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals.