There are some authors that just have that special quality that makes you want to read the book, even knowing that it will make you cry, laugh, and seethe with anger. Ellery Kane is one of those authors, and I'm so glad that I picked up her first book and am now finished reading the third book in what is fast becoming one of my favorite murder mystery series. I originally picked up the first book in the series thinking that there might be a bit of romance, since that's what I normally read, and since I love crime shows, I thought the murder mystery aspect would be really interesting to me. What has kept me reading isn't the romance, which remains a very small part of each book, but rather the thrilling, keeps-me-on-the-edge-of-my-seat mystery that the author continues to throw at me with amazing detail and drama. I never guess who the villain is. Never. I love that she is always keeping me guessing with each book.
Santa Barbara's Perfect Family. That was the caption from an article surrounding the family just weeks prior to their gruesome murder. Olivia Rockwell wasn't expecting to pull the father out of a burning vehicle, already dead from a bullet wound to his head. Detective Will Decker wasn't expecting to then be rushing to the scene of a fire with a gruesome body count. One child is all that's left when the smoke finally clears from the fire that consumed the vacation home. The mother, dead. The eldest son and daughter, dead. The youngest son is nowhere to be found. When they finally find him, he takes one look at Will and screams. Shaken to the core, Olivia and WIll must work together to keep the child safe from harm and find the killer before he or she removes the only remaining witness to the crime.
I kept the summary short, because there is so much going on in this story and I'm afraid to give too much away. There is a lot to unpack as more and more clues are uncovered. What I loved about this book was that we not only get an amazing murder mystery to keep us on our toes, but we also get to see Olivia and WIll become closer and realize their feelings for each other. They had such a rough start in the first book, and I've really enjoyed seeing their partnership go from business to friendship to now a true romance. I felt like yelling into the air, FINALLY! As a person who reads mainly romance books, I have been waiting for the day when they would finally see the light. The murder mystery aspect was fascinating, and I loved seeing how everything developed as more suspects were uncovered. I never knew what to think - at first I would point the finger at one suspect, then I would think the wife had something to do with it, and at the end of the day, I realized that was the point to it all. Murder isn't simple, a truly evil person isn't always the most obvious, and even if you think you've resolved a particularly terrible part of your past, sooner or later it will always come back to bite you.
The latter half of the book had my heart racing, and I found myself loving it so much. When it ended, I was both contented and also anxious to know what would happen next. I can't wait to see where Ellery Kane takes the series from here.
**I received a free copy via NetGalley and this is my honest review.**