Rating: 3.5 stars
Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from Berkley via NetGalley. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.
Summary: While sitting in prison for someone else’s murders, awaiting her appeal, Detective Helen Grace cannot help but get involved when her fellow inmate gets murdered. Not only is the manner of death escaping the prison coroner, the body was gruesomely mutilated postmortem. And it all happened within the confines of the convict’s cell, which was found locked at the time the body was discovered. And the killer doesn’t stop at one.
On the outside, her squad mate and friend is trying to prove Helen’s innocence, but keeps running into resistance in the ranks. With little to go on and no support whatsoever, she puts her job (and life) on the line to set her friend free.
Review: I’m not sure why I keep reading books midway in a series that I’ve never read before, but this is one of the times where it worked out just fine. I’m sure my reading experience would have been richer, my attachment to the characters deeper, if I’d the five previous books as context, but the author does a lovely job of inserting tidbits about the backstory along the way. At no point did I feel confused or lost.
In terms of character, I liked Helen Grace, though I wanted to shake her silly about a million times. She takes the most ridiculous risks in pursuit of the truth, and while I respect that, and it creates a strong measure of intensity, the frustration her actions generate made me want to scream a few times. Pretty sure I said out loud “What the hell are you doing?!?” several times (which my husband found rather concerning). She certainly keeps things interesting, and I’d like to get to know her better.
The plot was so well done. While I had my suspicions all along, I was WAY off base in the end. Not only on the who and the how, but the why. And I loved the angle of a limited pool of suspects. Only those who could get into the cell blocks could have committed the murders. Being within a prison provided a plethora of potential perpetrators, but then there is the question of getting into the locked cell…so many options.
A very good read, whether you are familiar with the series or not. I’m glad that I have the first in series on hand for my future enjoyment. J