Already a favorite author so it was without any deliberation that I snatched up this latest standalone release. With each new foray into suspense, the author just gets better and better. This was an amazing, twisting psychological story of a young woman determined to prove her friend didn’t kill herself even while exploring attraction with two different men who have a tie to the case.
The story opens with Maggie Sparkes, wealthy heiress to her parents’ energy empire, returned to New York to go through her best friend’s things and make sense of Celine’s suicide. Maggie runs a non-profit charity organization that helps build homes, provides clean water, and education in poverty stricken areas of the world. She is called back to find Celine gone and Celine’s mother, who was more mother than nanny to Maggie, is in poor health. Maggie has a gut feeling when she is in Celine’s apartment and amongst her things. This suicide felt wrong. Not just because she knew Celine, but little things weren’t adding up.
Maggie’s investigation uncovers things that shock and hurt her once she delves closely into Celine’s life. And as she meets all the people surrounding Celine, she learns that nobody is without their secrets. But is one of them a murderer?
I haven’t read a good murder mystery that kept me guessing through the end in a coon’s age. This was one of those that I had my finger solid on one suspect and the motive then whoosh had that pet theory demolished more than once. This made for all sorts of fun.
The pacing and tone of the story really worked for the plot. There were spikes of suspense, but for the most part, it went along at a gentle pace. There is that feeling that everything and anything can be significant or distracting red herrings.
The cast of characters are a variety of colorful and at times quirky people. Just as I felt I knew them, another reveal would take place and I had to adjust my opinions. Even Celine, who was murdered, came to life for me as Maggie worked through the clues in her past.
While I enjoyed Maggie’s role in the story as the heroine and sole narrator- the instigator and one that pushed for justice for Celine- I didn’t like her in the beginning as the abrasive, demanding rich best friend. She grew on me as she worked her way- trying and failing and trying again. Maggie had some preconceived notions and opinions about herself and most assuredly about others that was off putting, but then her tenacity and genuine feelings particularly when she realized where her assumptions got her made me feel more kindly disposed toward her.
The setting of NYC and the life at Celine’s apartment building with the antique world as the background was interesting and suited the mystery plot. I thought that cozy place on the roof with Maggie and Grady sharing the hammock, wool blanket, and the fire with the stars above was a lovely scene.
So many twists to the end, but I enjoyed every moment along the way. Even though this story was a standalone, I would love it if the author reprised some of the secondary characters who helped Maggie solve Celine’s death in another story.
All in all, this was fantastic and I can’t wait to see what this author produces next. I thought this was going to be more romantic suspense, but the romance has the lesser role. This is for those who enjoy spicy, twisty murder mystery and romantic suspense.
I received this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #55 RS
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