All Good Deeds

This is post number 25.

Cover:

all_good_deeds_cover

This is the first novel of a series by Stacy Green.

Plot:Former CPS agent Lucy Kendall starts taking the law into her own hands, but when girl goes missing, an old case puts her vigilante streak on hold. Will Lucy be able to find the missing Kailey before Lucy gets caught?

Passage:

“A group of laughing young women strode into Chetter’s, and for a moment, I was painfully aware I was becoming invisible. At thirty-three, I’m nowhere near old, but the sight of them reminded me how quickly time races forward. Tan and toned, every one of them still had the glorious firmness of their early twenties instead of the creeping softness of the thirties. The women commanded the attention of all the straight men in the bar. Except for Steve. He never noticed the hot women.”

Spoilers/Opinion: Pretty much everyone in this novel either is a victim of childhood sexual abuse, violent crime, or both, so everyone feels heavy. Lucy is a serial killer, and that is not a spoiler. She tries to kill someone in the first twenty or so pages in a manner that I do not understand. Her method of killing someone is to splash cyanide on them and hope they don’t remove their clothes for twenty minutes. Having watched too much CSI as a kid, I think she could find a cleaner and more sure way to kill someone without being caught. Lucy justifies murder by only killing confirmed pedophiles that escaped prison sentences, which is why she left CPS. I feel like she should just present her evidence to the courts since it is pretty solid but that would be boring apparently. This does help with the sense of urgency though, since Lucy is trying to work fast before cops start to notice her body count.

Early on, a girl named Kailey goes missing, and Lucy suspects Justin, a former case from her CPS days. Here is where I think the plot goes wonky. Justin allegedly committed his crime of killing and raping his friend when he was ten, in a manner that few ten year olds would have the strength and thought to accomplish. For some reason, no one questioned that he did it, and he served some time in juvie. Lucy thinks Justin is the worst thing ever despite the strange circumstances of his case and the fact that he had not committed a violent crime after the incident. Even I could see that he probably didn’t kill his friend ten years ago and would not be stupid enough to kidnap a girl in his neighborhood, and I have the detective prowess of a nose deaf blood hound. The worst part is Lucy is hung up on Justin until over half way through the novel when other suspects should be questioned. I know it’s not him, just move on!

The ending has a bit of a twist, but it does not feel satisfying. Justin reveals that his mother Mary was responsible for the death and post-mortem rape of his friend, but he was too scared to confess. Chris, Lucy’s ally, reveals that he and Justin had the same mother, and she was also just as abusive to Chris as she was Justin. They track down Mary, thinking she has Kailey, when they see that she set her house on fire. The police find the body of a child and man inside but cannot confirm it is Kailey. But wait, apparently Steve, one of Lucy’s targets, has had Kailey the whole time and was going to sell her on the dark web. What? This ending saddened me because if Lucy wasn’t hung up on Justin in the first place and killed someone when she planned to this whole story wouldn’t have happened. It’s hard to describe, but I feel like the author wanted to leave the door open with Mary, but still have a “happy” ending with Kailey being found and was running out of steam. If the body was Kailey, the ending would feel more satisfying, though sad, and Mary would still be a threat for a sequel.

Ratings: This is a Mystery novel, so the ratings are as follows

Surprises/Twists: 2/10

Problem Solving/ Finding Info: 3/10

Sense of Danger/ Urgency: 9/10

Creativity: 5/10

Plot: 5/10

Overall, I give All Good Deeds a 5/10. The sense of urgency is there, but the protagonist was too hung up on one suspect to make the plot interesting. The twist fell flat and could have been fixed if it didn’t have a final turn.

Citation:

Green, Stacy. All Good Deeds: a gritty psychological thriller (The Lucy Kendall Series Book 1) (pp. 3-4). Twisted Minds Press. Kindle Edition.

Link to All Good Deeds

Sign Off

This is post number 24.

Cover:

sign_off_cover

This is the first novel of a series by Patricia McLinn.

Plot: E. M. Danniher is reassigned to a low profile news station after her divorce. A young girl asks Danniher to prove her father’s innocence in a missing person’s case. Can Danniher solve the crime before an innocent man goes to trial?

Passage:

“Shit. What did I expect? Of course everyone knew my business. They probably knew the dollars and cents on the divorce settlement. Along with the fact that Wes was dragging his feet on sending me my share of the proceeds from the sale of our cottage and his buyout of our house in D.C. The house was worth a lot more than the cottage, even though only a real estate person could describe it with a straight face as being on the edge of Georgetown. But it was the thought of no longer having the cottage that dropped a weight below my collarbone.”

Spoilers/Opinion: I had a hard time getting through the first 40% of this novel. The writing is fine, but the plot goes in circles without really going forward until the missing person turns up dead. Most of the clues that Danniher and her new station partner Paycik find are repeated after the body is found, so the first half feels redundant.

That said, the actual mystery itself has twists and turns, with several characters having motive to kill Foster. Until the last 15% of the novel, almost anyone could have killed him, which kept me on my toes. Danniher takes charge of the investigation and asks questions from all angles, whether or not the person she questions is directly involved. Her divorce and move to Wyoming confused me because she took a hit to her career because of her husband, but I am not sure why. Maybe I missed it, but unless her ex was the biggest producer this side of the country, I don’t see why he had enough sway to get her demoted.

I always hate when mysteries or dramas throw in a romance for a spicy touch mainly because the people who write mysteries do not know how to make a romance interesting or relevant to the plot. Paycik hints that he is interested in Danniher and there is a scene involving Burrell, one of the suspects, but for the most part Danniher stays single and focused on her case.The author shows restraint by sticking to mystery, so I commend Patricia McLinn. She also captures the feel of a small rural town well, with the feeling of being isolated yet watched by the citizens.

Ratings: This is a Mystery novel so the ratings are as follows

Surprises/Twists: 7/10

Problem Solving/ Finding Info: 8/10

Sense of Danger/ Urgency: 7/10

Creativity: 5/10

Plot: 8/10

Overall, I give Sign Off an 8/10. Though slow to start, the plot picks up and actually keeps the reader guessing until end.

Citation:

McLinn, Patricia. Sign Off (Caught Dead in Wyoming, Book 1) (pp. 43-44). Craig Place Books. Kindle Edition.

Link to Sign Off