Reviewed for Imajin Books from 1st edition ebook
An intricate weaving of a celebration of life and the results of sudden death, this book with its intriguing characters is sure to pull the reader in like a whirlpool. With ingenious plotting, prickly relationships, futuristic technology and bodies dropping like flies, Alison Bruce has a knack for descriptive narrative that breathes life right into the scene. The landscape, streets, murder scenes and characters rich and poor, are all clearly established in the mind. Set in the winter of 2018, there is plenty of opportunity the author to play with technological possibilities.
From the opening scene in a cold muddy field with a rookie cop gathering evidence from the drugged vicious rape of a young girl in the hope of saving her life, to the sudden accidental death of Joe Garrett, the very popular retired ex-cop turned private investigator, and coincidentally the father of Kate, the rookie cop who was working in that muddy field, the story appears to go in many directions, but does it really?
It's been a very difficult and emotional day for Kate and there are many decisions for her to make, not the least of which is whether to remain with the police force or to take over her father's business, as his will splits ownership between Kate and Jake Carmedy, Joe's business partner. Unfortunately, Kate and Jake do not get along, but a hidden undercurrent they aren't aware of seems to promise a hot romance in the future. In the meantime Kate is going to have to take over the current case Joe was working on, as well as pursuing the police case of the now declared murdered girl.
Alison Bruce's writing almost takes on a life of its own as it weaves in and out of these relationships and cases. The murdered girl died of prescription drugs, Joe died from a car accident, while following a man for his protection, a man who claimed he had been threatened. But why was this man threatened? It didn't make sense. Yet bodies and coincidences begin to pile up even while both police and family friends are mourning Joe's death.
When do coincidences become conspiracies? Joe's death seems unrelated, but why do the murders appear to have commonalities? The action is rapid-paced, the suspects are many and unusual, and the story is compelling as it gets deeper into the mystery. It all comes down to a perfectly Agatha Christie-esque finish with all suspects in one room. Yet we are left with the question, are Kate and Jake going to be able to put aside their antagonism? Will they? won't they? Can they make this partnership work? With the ultimately odd backdrop of the Santa Claus parade going by, surely anything can happen!