Most stories involving the hunt for a serial killer tend to fall into the category of romantic suspense, which I’ve said before is not one of my preferred subgenres. The blurb for this book, by a new-to-me author, however, suggested more of a straightforward romance overlaid onto a police procedural cum journalistic clash with authorities, so I decided to give it a go. Throw in the trope of long-estranged lovers reunited when one returns to the town that the other never really left (not always a hit for me, though I do keep looking for small-town romances that may hit all the right buttons for once), and this was either going to be a great skyrocketing success for me or a bit of a damp squib.
Lucy Rodriguez and Erica Chance were best friends turned lovers, but Lucy ended the relationship after she went away to college because it seemed to be what all her classmates were doing: abandoning their high school sweethearts in favour of the freedom to explore life and play the field, and because she thought Erica wanted to do that same thing too. In the following decade and a half, Lucy has travelled the world as a journalist, before returning to the US to cover local stories after she was caught up in a terror attack in the Middle East. Meanwhile, Erica has remained in their hometown, working for the local police department alongside Lucy’s brother. The pair have avoided each other all these years, but neither has ever stopped regretting what might have been.
When the body of a college student is found, Erica is assigned to investigate the murder case, and Lucy is sent down by her editor to cover the story. The pair discover that the case bears remarkable similarities to a pair of murders that took place twenty-five years earlier, but were never solved, and when the cousin of Erica’s on-off girlfriend also disappears, the race is on to find the girl before she becomes the next victim of a killer who has either returned to town after a long absence or is copying the actions of the earlier murderer.
This book really didn’t know what it wanted to be. It had a lot of elements of romantic suspense, including our heroines making bad choices and getting into trouble for reasons that did more to advance the plot than to reflect their characters. However, it also had a lot of elements closer to those found in a small-town romance or a cosy mystery with romantic elements. In the end, none of the plot threads hung together in a way that satisfied me, and I found myself wishing we could have seen more of the relationships between various of the background characters, rather than that of the heroines, since they just annoyed me.
Not an author I’ll be watching out for in the future, unless she comes up with something a lot more coherent in terms of subgenre.
Lucy severed the connection to her first love when the seduction of college life pulled at her desires. Now in their thirties, Lucy returns home to cover a story where Detective Erica Chance plays a central character. Erica has spent a decade trying to banish the memory of Lucy, and on the surface, she has succeeded. Now, the reporter is back in her life, insisting she is a valued resource in the search for their hometown’s first serial killer. Old wounds are opened and new enemies are discovered as Lucy tries to take her chance.
Read an excerpt.