This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: F/F Romance, Mystery Romance
Published by Recorded Books
Released on January 7, 2020
Years ago I read my first Kate Martinelli about intrepid and tough San Francisco homicide detective, and then the rest of the series. I thought it was over and was sad. Then, lo and behold, Laurie R. King gave us another story that takes us back to the early years of Kate’s life and an old cold case for her to solve that hits close to home.
Beginnings is the sixth installment in the Kate Martinelli series and, in spite of its title, should be read after the rest of the series as it both drops in on Kate’s life in the present, but assumes the reader/listener has experienced the earlier books of characters and cases.
Beginnings starts with Kate and her wife, Lee, getting ready to take their daughter out for her birthday dinner and meet Nora’s boyfriend. Kate has a flashback of her younger sister when she sees Nora and gets Nora curious about the aunt who died young and she never hears about. Nora starts asking questions and Kate is forced to really look at her sister’s car accident.
A cursory glance at a newspaper clipping that hints at suicide has her on a journey back to her small central valley home town of Diamond Springs and sifting through the police records and witnesses who are still around from back then. It is an uncomfortable walk down memory lane that Lee encourages her to take to put paid to her past once and for all and figure out some of the odd facts that don’t add up about her sister’s death which is looking less like a suicide or an accident.
Beginnings is a novella, but it is fully developed with both an introspective journey of memories for Kate and a slow burn cold case for her to solve with her old detecting partner working the case along side her. For being a novella, I have to admit that this was the first time I found one a little dragging in places. It wasn’t boring, but I did have a few times when I was done with the mental dialogue and wanted to get back to the story.
It was neat getting a reunion with Kate and Lee to see how they are doing now that they are older and in their fifties with a teenage daughter who is as intrepid as Kate. Kate is a little more mellow now that she has established herself and doesn’t have to hide her relationship or get put down as a woman detective with the times changing. Speaking of times, there are some sharp side jabs made at society and politics that fortunately get made and move on. Lee is as supportive and helpful analyzing people as ever and it was neat seeing Kate and Al back on a case together.
The mystery was interesting because it was Kate’s little sister involved. It wasn’t as twisting or dark as the rest of the series mostly because this is a novella, I think. I had no trouble working out what happened when enough evidence and facts were piled up. The suspense was how they were going to close the case when it was supposition and circumstantial evidence. Kate and Al come through with some clever finds, of course.
This was my first time listening to Alyssa Brenahan’s work. I liked her voice for Kate and all the other characters both male and female, young and older. She matched her tone well though I did have to listen at 1.5 speed because her pace was slower than I liked. I would definitely listen to more of her work.
All in all this follow up reunion novella to the Kate Martinelli series was engaging and left me wanting more even if that means a re-read/listen to the other books in the series. Kate is a good sharp-edged character and her investigations get gritty and exciting like thrillers. I can definitely recommend the series.
My thanks to Recorded Books for sending me the book to listen to in exchange for an honest review.
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