Wednesday, January 30, 2019
The Murder Book by Lissa Marie Redmond: Reading Room Review
When a former cold case detective writes a book about a cold case detective, your expectations are high for a riveting story. When that former detective is Lissa Marie Redmond, that's exactly what you get. In the second book in the series featuring Detective Lauren Riley, police procedural fans will be especially pleased with the attention to procedural detail, although Lauren bucks that process when it frustrates her path to a killer. The Murder Book is my first read in this series, having somehow missed Redmond's A Cold Day in Hell. However, I didn't suffer any confusion in joining Lauren Riley and her work partner Shane Reese. Of course, having enjoyed the second book so much, I plan on going back and picking up the first, as I now know some fascinating facts about that story.
There are all different ways to start a story, and if done well, they all work. The Murder Book has no prologue, no events leading up to, and no reflection. The beginning action is Detective Lauren Riley getting stabbed while she is alone at night in the cold case department of the Buffalo Police. I rather liked that, sitting down opening the book, and bam, we're off! As she is attacked from behind, Lauren doesn't see her attacker, but as she lies bleeding out on the floor and she is stomped in the head, she observes the unmistakable footwear of a city-issue policeman's boots. She also glimpses her murder book, where she catalogs all the cold case murders, being snatched away. When she wakes up in the hospital, her parents, her daughters, and her partner Reese are all there to welcome her back from what was a near-death experience. If Reese hadn't come back for his hat he forgot and found Lauren on the floor that night, she would have surely died. Now Lauren and Reese are faced with the terrible knowledge that another cop tried to kill her, and that it's somehow connected to a cold case. But, what cold case? And who can be trusted, as the killer cop is someone who is close enough to the cold case unit to know about Lauren's Murder Book and there have been leaks to the press? Reese moves into Lauren's house as they put their heads together to find answers. Although Lauren is supposed to be concentrating on recovering from her injuries, she can't rest while there is a member of the Buffalo PD who has blood, her blood, on his hands.
When it's discovered that a couple of calls have come in to the number for the cold case department's former hot line about an old homicide, hopes are high that a connection can be made to Lauren's Murder Book and her attempted murder. First though, the voice on the phone has to be identified, and Lauren privately looks up her retired boss Charlie Daley, who might just be able to help on the voice identification. It's a small circle of Reese, Charlie, and herself that Lauren must rely on, with trust issues being so fragile, to uncover a secret that has been hidden deep for years. Meanwhile, the high profile of Lauren's attack will bring other unwanted ghosts from her past into her present again, too.
There's no question that Lissa Redmond is a reliable source for this police procedural, and her background brings the sort of authenticity to the story that readers love and appreciate. The book flows smoothly in its fast paced action, never feeling hurried or incomplete at any point. I liked the partnership of Lauren and Reese, their easy working relationship and established communication connection of having been on the force and friends for a while. The addition of Charlie Daley to their investigative efforts lends a nice quirky note to the team. And, I have to say a word of praise for including Reese's dog Watson. Watson serves a needed purpose of showing some softness in both of these hard-working detectives, especially Lauren. Reese was already a bit easier going, with his gentle art of humor. I look forward to getting to know more and more about these characters and finding out who Watson ends up with. Redmond has established a great new series, and since The Murder Book left us with a cliffhanger, I really can't wait to see what's next.
I received an advanced reader's copy from the publisher for an honest review. The Murder Book will be available in bookstores on February 6, 2019.