Severn House, December 6, 2022
Book blurb: A missing tourist spells trouble for Senior Investigator Shana Merchant in this page-turning twisty mystery set in an atmospheric island community with a small-town vibe.
Former NYPD detective Shana Merchant is a skilled Senior Investigator keeping New York’s beautiful Thousands Islands community safe. She’s a loving partner. A strong woman. A survivor.
She’s also bound by blood to a serial killer. And after months of concealing the truth from the world as she hunted Blake Bram down, her secret is finally out.
Shana just wants to get on with her life and win back her community’s trust. But as Alexandria Bay fills up with tourists in advance of the annual festival known as Pirate Days, a visitor goes missing, and the case threatens to destroy not just the celebrations, but what remains of Shana’s reputation.
Shana’s not to blame for the killer in her family, but people are starting to whisper that she attracts trouble. That A-Bay was safer before she arrived. And as the investigation deepens, Shana starts to fear that they may be right.
Because while Bram is gone, he is far from forgotten.
Review by Coffee and Ink
In the terrible basement where Bram kept Shana, a young policeman had tried to save her and lost his life. Little A-Bay, after the death of Bram, is trying to get back to normal. Normal means tourists and Pirate Days. Shana is trying for normal, too. Continuing her relationship with Tim has become the most healing aspect of it. But like a stone thrown into a pool, the ripple effect of Bram’s life and death hasn’t ceased.
Another wonderful installment in the Shana Merchant series, number four. I’m not always a fan of police procedurals but what I love about this series is the seamless weaving of Shana’s personal life with her work life. You can blame that on Bram, of course. One of the best threads in the new novel is the journalist who wants to highlight the families of serial killers. As in Shana’s case, the families end up enduring the most of the blame, and he wants to give them a voice. Another dilemma for Shana, as she wants nothing more than to disappear into what she does best, her police work.
This is a book to be absorbed by, a more thoughtful book I wouldn’t exactly call a page-turner, but I certainly had a hard time putting it down.
A 5-star read, highly recommended.
Thanks to Simone at Books Forward and the publisher for an arc of this book,
Tessa Wegert is the author of the popular Shana Merchant novels, which include Death in the Family, The Dead Season, Dead Wind, and The Kind to Kill. A former freelance journalist and digital media strategist, Tessa’s work has appeared in Forbes, The Huffington Post, Adweek, and The Economist. She grew up in Quebec and now lives with her husband and children in Connecticut, where she studies martial arts and is co-president of Sisters in Crime CT.
Prior to writing novels, Tessa was the first place winner in the Crime category of the Eighth Annual Writer’s Digest Magazine Popular Fiction Awards for her short story Moms’ Night Out. In addition to her work with Sisters in Crime Connecticut, she is a member of International Thriller Writers (ITW), Mystery Writers of America (MWA), Sisters in Crime New England, and Sisters in Crime New York, and is co-director of ITW PitchFest.
(photo by Hildi Todrin/Crane Song Photography)
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