Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
FBI Special Agent Adam Darling was moving up the ranks until a mishandling of a high profile operation left someone dead and his career on shaky ground. Now he’s working a serial killer case when him and his partner are sent to investigate a body in the little town of Nearby. Deputy Sheriff Robert Haskell is laid-back, easy going and a bit of a joker, but an efficient and tough cop. When the town Sheriff calls in the FBI on a cold case, Agent Darling comes to town and him and Rob enjoy an unexpected one-night stand before the man goes on his way. Rob doesn’t figure to see the intriguing man again, but when the curator of a Native American museum is murdered several months later, the Sheriff calls in the FBI a second time and asks specifically for Agent Darling. With the body count rising, it soon begins to appear that they may be investigating more than one serial killer—one past and one present.
There are actually two mysteries here going on at the same time, some cold cases from twenty years prior and some a modern killer. Could the killer be one and the same? Or are have two serial killers made the small town of Nearby their hunting ground?
The beginning of the story happens in the past from a POV that is never revisited (for a very good reason), and then we go to the varying POV of the two MC. That initial different point of view, the time jump, and then the other two points of views threw me off a bit, and I wasn’t sure I was going to like this for the first few chapters. But Lanyon’s writing is excellent as always, so I kept going and it paid off. I was soon sucked in.
The plot/mystery is quite complex. There is a lot going on, at one point almost too much, but it was reeled by in nicely. I enjoyed the setting, winter in a small, rural town, because rural is right up my ‘lives in middle of nowhere’ alley. I also enjoy reading stories with Native Americans and their histories and legends. The tough female cop who had instincts sharp enough to pick up on little things that even Rob had been overlooking was an awesome addition to the cast of characters. And the pairing of the laid-back, somewhat argumentative but humorous Rob with the more uptight, by the book, and troubled-by-past-events Adam worked well for me.
As far as the mystery in this book goes, there is no neatly tied up with bow ending. We do get to know who did what, but the motives, whys and wherefores are not fully explained. Some may complain about it not being scrupulously tied up. But I was fine with it. In real life, I tend to think the arresting cops don’t really get to know all that stuff, especially right away and in a scenario such as this set up. The guys don’t collect all the clues and put it all together to solve the mystery. They start to put bits and pieces together, and then WHAM, events explode and the stakes are instantly high. So maybe later when it comes to trail possibly the guys will find out more, but I accept that they wouldn’t know all that and found it to be just realistic
Towards the end, the focus shifted to the romance rather than tidying up all the loose ends and motives of the crime. The case was over, solved. In their past and time to focus on their own life. YES! I’m all in with that. In fact, the ending was my favorite part, and I don’t want to give too much away. However, I will say that I thought it was sad and yet brilliant the way Lanyon began the book with a hopeful man in love who didn’t get his HEA, and then wrapped it up with a hopeful HFN for the main couple.
There were two things that kept this from being a perfect five for me. First off, most of the sex scenes started off fun but ended as fade to black. Why? I wanted more. And second, for the first time in a Lanyon book, I found editing errors. Gasp.
Oh, and one more thing. I want to ask Josh Lanyon to please tell me the ex named Tucker that Adam Darling mentioned without a last name is NOT Elliott’s Tucker! Tucker and Elliott are a favorite couple.
The cover photo at the bottom gives a sense of place, season, cold; and the photo at top is right in your face–a gun sighted straight on you. ‘Go ahead, make my day.’ it seems to say. And this book might do just that.
ebook, 181 pages
Published May 31st 2015 by Just Joshin
original titleWinter Kill