Kensington | 28 December 2021 | 368 pgs
Source: NetGalley 

I've enjoyed some of Charlie Donlea's books in the past and have to say his books are hit or miss to me. This latest release, though gripping and intriguing in so many ways, fell short for me due to too many subplots and a bit convoluted with the story direction and motives, thus it slowed down the pace and the intensity but it did pick up towards the end, though. 

July, 2001. Bestselling novelist Cameron Young was found dead hanging in his balcony. Forensic investigations indicated that he was murdered first before the hanging. There was enough evidence and motives to point towards his lover, Victoria Ford, as the perpetrator due to her DNA left at the scene. On top of that, they learnt that she'd had an abortion before but Cameron's wife was pregnant thereafter, as the reader will read about Cameron's infidelity as the story progresses. Earlier on the September 11th, Victoria had gone off to visit her lawyer whose office situated at the World Trade Center. Before Victoria could have her case sorted out, tragedy struck as the plane crashed into the building. Like many victims, Victoria never had the chance to live and defend herself and soon her case was left buried and forgotten. 

Twenty years later, American Events host Avery Mason decides to unravel the mystery behind Victoria Ford's case after her DNA was found in a tiny bone fragment through scientific technology. The ratings for American Events has been good and has a stellar viewership through Avery's hosting and her daring exploration in various cases so they are sure she'll ace in this latest show as well. But as Avery digs around, she finds out that Victoria had left a phone message to her sister claiming that she's innocent and to exonerate her from a crime she didn't commit. Added to the intrigue is Avery's real identity as a fugitive's daughter and her involvement with Walt Jenkins who was the young investigator who looked into Cameron Young's case. Walt may not be in the squad now, but he's asked to look for Avery's father by his ex-boss as he work with Avery on Cameron's case. 

I liked the story well enough, but the direction of the story left me a little baffled. Initially I thought this would be a case about Cameron and Victoria, but the thread was lost after the involvement between Avery and Walt and the attention turns to Avery's identity and Walt's secret assignment. Just as I wondered if Cameron's case would be revealed, it showed up towards the end and the revelation was a surprise and a twisty one. Overall it was an intriguing read if you don't mind the slow start, the various subplots and a murder case revolves around infidelity and kinky sex. 

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2 Responses
  1. Lark Says:

    His books have been hit or miss for me, too. It makes me less inclined to pick up this one.

  2. Melody Says:

    Lark - It'd be perfect if there isn't too many threads in this story. Hope his next book will be better. :)

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