Ellie Matthews is tired of her fifteen minutes of fame. After consulting on a high-profile murder case a few months ago, she wants nothing more than to fade back into obscurity and resume her life as a mild-mannered college professor. But when a family friend goes missing, Ellie finds herself thrust back into the grisly world of crime scene investigation.
It isn’t long before Ellie’s young friend is found murdered and her death is tied to a previously unsolved case. Based on the cryptic poems left on the victims, the department soon realizes that the killer’s vendetta is against them.
It takes all Ellie has to push her personal feelings aside and partner with Detective Nick Baxter one more time. The duo must stop at nothing to catch a vengeful serial killer before it’s too late.
The book begins with a murder during the first snowfall and the reader finds that in the months that have passed since Bitter Past, Ellie Matthews is slowly spiraling out of control. While the description of this book implies that Ellie is ready to return to her life as it was before, her constant need and consumption of alcohol clearly state otherwise.
When a close friend’s niece is murdered, Ellie finds herself struggling to remain vigilant for her friend by conducting a thorough examination of the evidence. Everything gets further complicated when she discovers that a mysterious young man she met with privately in her office, is the murderer and his next intended victim is her younger sister.
If there is one word I would use to describe Ellie Matthews, it would be imperfect. I am typically drawn to imperfect characters in books, because they are rarely the leading characters. My opinion on Ellie is a bit mixed, if I’m being honest. While I enjoy the books, I’m not really a fan of her raging alcoholism or the fact that the majority of the people in her life don’t even notice it. It’s especially difficult to stomach as she must deal with the kidnapping and impending murder of her sister.
However, I did enjoy learning more about Ellie’s past and how her mother’s murder impacted her ability to continue working in the field. These little glimpses help to explain some of the trauma Ellie has experienced and why she struggles so much not only with alcohol, but also with relationships. I feel as if eventually, there’ll be a book that actually includes hunting down the man who murdered her mother. But for now, I like that these books allow the reader to remain clueless about who is guilty until the author reveals it. That kind of approach keeps you engaged in the story as it unfolds and those are exactly the kinds of crime stories that I enjoy as a reader. That’s why I found this book to be so enjoyable and would recommend it to other readers who enjoy a good crime novel.
Note: I requested and received permission to read and review this book through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.