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by Lissa Marie Redmond
Midnight Ink, February 2019
288 pages
ISBN: 0738754277

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

THE MURDER BOOK by Lissa Marie Redmond is the second book in her series, titled Cold Case Investigations, which follows the adventures of Buffalo, NY Police Detective Lauren Riley. At the beginning of the book, Riley is viciously attacked and left to die in her office by an unknown assailant. She owes her life to her partner, Shane Reese, who had forgotten his baseball cap and returned to retrieve it, only to find Lauren bleeding out on their office floor.

There is a real feel of authenticity to this police procedural: no surprise there, as the author is a recently retired Buffalo PD homicide detective.

Redmond does a skillful job of portraying her characters; they are likeable, with very human flaws and personalities. The major characters will remind you of family members and friends - people you know and like. You will also feel some exasperation with them as they make poor choices sometimes - again, just like in real life. As Riley recovers from her injuries, her quest to discover the identity of her attacker leads her to explore the cold cases that they have been working. She gets assistance from her partner, her ex-husband, and a retired cop. There are also recurring characters that re-appear from the first book in the series, although if you haven't read volume one, it's hard to imagine you would want to pick it up after reading volume two except to learn more about the major characters. All major plot lines from volume one are revealed in volume two.

This is a book that explores some large themes: family loyalty, bureaucratic culture, friendship, the issues of single parenthood, and the mystery of why strong women choose the wrong men (!)

The plot moves along crisply with a nice dose of humor. Riley does unravel the mystery of who attacked her, and why, and also sets a clever trap for the reader at the end with a plot twist that will entice this reviewer to read the third book of the series when it comes out.

As a fan of police procedural series, I would have preferred to have Lissa Marie Redmond leave out the specific resolutions of the plotlines of the first book. That would have provided me some incentive to read the first volume of the series. Now I will just have to wait for the third.

Phyllis Onstad has been a writer, editor, civil servant, teacher and voracious reader. She currently lives in the California wine country.

Reviewed by Phyllis Onstad, January 2019

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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