Three years ago, criminalist Ellie Matthews was blindsided when a grisly homicide case suddenly became personal. She abandoned the danger and stress of crime scene investigation for a professorship at a posh private college and never looked back.
Now, Ellie’s pleasant world is shattered when she finds the dead body of a female student. The campus is in chaos, reporters are circling like vultures, and Ellie is trying her best to distance herself from the situation. Not an easy task when her closest colleague becomes the prime suspect.
After the college community is rocked by another suspicious death, Ellie’s mentor, Sheriff Jayne Walsh, convinces her to consult on the case. Partnered with quick-witted Detective Nick Baxter, Ellie reluctantly bottles up her personal demons and dives back into the world she left behind, racing to make sense of the evidence before the killer strikes again.
This is the first book of the Ellie Matthews series and I have to admit it was a surprising change of pace for this author. The previous series I read was a humorous cozy mystery, while this book has a more serious murder mystery vibe. This serious tone allows the author to move more into the crime mystery genre, without carrying the burden of needing to remain light hearted or humorous. The author has done a great job of establishing a new tone and show their ability to develop a solid mystery series.
The murder of a young coed stirs up a lot of drama, suspicion, and dirty secrets among the staff and students on campus. With her background as a forensic criminalist, Ellie Matthews finds herself in a precarious situation. An event from her past drove her to the world of education, but when her friend and coworker is accused of murder, she finds that she must put her feelings aside to help uncover the truth. As Ellie assists with uncovering clues, the reader gets an insight look into the less dramatic and glamorous aspects of processing a murder. Still, being something other than a cop or detective makes this serious interesting. She’s relatable and it’s her flaws that make her interesting.
Overall, I found this to be an interesting book. The storyline that unfolds kept my attention and left me unsure of who did it. This is always a plus because sometimes these kinds of books are a bit too obvious. The author did a good building a solid foundation for this new series. There’s plenty of room for the further development of Ellie, the rest of the characters, and the world in which they exist. I look forward to seeing where this series goes.