Writing: 5/5 Characters: 4/5 Plot: 5/5
The first in the Kate Martinelli mystery series (for which she won an Edgar), and I’m completely hooked! Completely bizarre, twisted plot, fully developed characters and tight writing. Writing quality is right up there with Louise Penny (which I don’t say a lot) — feels more like literary fiction embedding an intriguing mystery rather than a (boring) cozy or a mystery that is all plot/action filled with stock characters.
A serial killer has begun murdering young girls, depositing them all on a road in the midst of an odd colony outside of San Francisco. A seasoned cop and a newly promoted Detective (Kate) have been assigned the case with no real leads — and then they find out that one of the colony residents was associated with a similar crime many years before …
Writing: 4/5 Plot: 5/5 Characters: 5/5
Loved this book — a complete page turner with engaging characters, a twisted plot, and a hippie commune backstory that I just loved. Raquel Laing is an unintentionally non-conforming behavioral investigator for the SFPD — working on an old serial killer case (The Highwayman) when a body is unearthed from beneath a giant statue on the Gardener Estate outside of Palo Alto, California. The statue was erected 50 years ago — could this be another of the Highwayman’s victims?
This is the perfect kind of mystery for me — character driven, never boring but also never stressful (except for a short bit at the end), and a plot and backstory that never allow my interest to flag. Plenty of interesting psychological details on all the characters — including the serial killer lying in a hospital bed. I read a few of Laurie King’s Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes books a long time ago, but I didn’t like the premise (I don’t like books that add their own characters to existing fiction), but I liked this book so much I’m now planning on checking out her non Mary Russell books which look pretty interesting. This is a stand alone novel, though I do see opportunity for additional volumes!
Thank you to Random House Publishing Group — Ballantine, Bantam and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The book will be published on October 11th, 2022.