Three murders. Three innocent victims. What secrets did they share with their killer? A bottle of bubble bath and colourful, plastic boats were scattered in small puddles on the floor. In the bathtub lay Linda Upton, fully-clothed, her lips a shade of blue, and her bloodshot eyes wide open. When a young mother is found drowned in the bath, clutching a receipt saying ‘all debts paid’, Detective Robyn Carter knows it’s just the beginning of a harrowing case. She recognises the signs of a serial killer, and when a second victim with a receipt is found, her worst fears are confirmed. With the local press whipping the public into a frenzy, Robyn is under pressure to solve the crime yesterday. But her team can’t find a link between the two bodies, and the cracks are starting to show. Just when her leads have dried up, Robyn discovers an unsettling clue she thinks could unlock the case. But as she chases across the plush carpets and manicured lawns of the wealthy elite, honing in on the killer’s shocking motive, one of her own is put in terrible danger. The press call him The Leopard for his stealth, speed and brutality. Can Robyn stop the most twisted killer of her career before it’s too late?
A few months ago, I read and enjoyed Little Girl Lost, the first book in a new series by Carol Wyer. This author’s first crime novel was impressive and I couldn’t believe she had never written mysteries before. I devoured it as quickly as I could and I was left wanting for more. When I saw the second book on Netgalley, I requested it immediately. Time for a buddy read along with Novels Thrills and Chills!
And Carol Wyer didn’t disappoint this time either: Secrets of the Dead was an equally addictive and thrilling crime procedural, featuring a brave and likable detective called Robyn Carter. I love many things about Robyn I love that she’s willing to ignore her boss and continue investigating something that she isn’t supposed to when her instinct tells her that she’s onto something. I wouldn’t like her otherwise, and unlike other detectives, I think Robyn always knows what she’s doing. And she might be broken, but she isn’t rude or particularly cold.
Secrets of the Dead was fast-paced and engaging and it didn’t take me long to finish it. The first death and the following murders were initially confusing, but it all started making sense after a while, especially when the whole “invoice” thing that had me so intrigued was finally explained. I also appreciated the addition of Robyn’s cousin and his wife and I’d love to see more of them in the next installments.
Still, I think Secrets of the Dead was quite different from its predecessor and I want to share my thoughts as to why. Little Girl Lost was a police procedural, sure, but it read like a proper psychological thriller. One of the main characters wasn’t the detective and we got to know her pretty well. The focus was on the lives of these characters and what was happening to them. This time, though, Robyn and the investigation were the main focus (along with various chapters told from the murderer’s point of view), so it wasn’t the same. And believe me, I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy this book, because you all know I’m a big fan of police procedurals, however, I think I missed a bit of the psychological aspect of Little Girl Lost and I was eagerly expecting something similar to it.
Anyway, besides that detail, I must say this series is really good and I’d love to find out a bit more about Robyn and her personal life. Hopefully soon!
Netgalley, Bookouture 2017