My thanks are due this time, to the lovely Noelle, representing publisher Bookouture, for making space for me on this tour.
Also thanks, as always, are due to the great team at Netgalley, for their ever efficient service.
WILDFLOWER GRAVES – (Detective Ellie Reeves Book #2)
He looked at the photos of all the women who had to be punished. He’d already chosen the first five. He’d been talking to them for weeks. Watching them. Following them. He knew all their secrets––the secrets he would kill them for.
Detective Ellie Reeves heads into the wilds of the Appalachian Mountains when she wants to get lost––to forget the whispers chasing her and the past that keeps her up at night. She’s sick of having to prove herself to her small town.
But hiking in the endless miles of woods isn’t the escape she was hoping for. One night, as dusk falls, a gust of wind blows some petals on to Ellie’s path. Following the trail, she finds a golden-haired young woman dead on a bed of daffodils, with a note: “Monday’s child is fair of face”
When Ellie emerges from the forest, there is a message on her phone. Someone has sent her a picture of her colleague, Officer Shondra Eastwood, with the words: Can you find her, Detective Reeves? Ellie is racked with guilt––while she was busy hiding from life a killer was on the loose, and he has taken her beloved friend.
The wilderness, and its shadows, are the perfect hunting ground for a criminal––but what does the sinister nursery rhyme mean? It soon becomes clear when another dead woman, Tuesday’s Child, is found.
Ellie is up against a serial killer who will claim a victim for every day of the week, and in the next twenty-four hours there will be another body. As this ruthless murderer closes in on her, can she save more innocent women––and Shondra––from his clutches? Or will he get to Ellie first?
But she didn’t think real people grew up to be writers, so she became a teacher instead. Now she writes so she doesn’t have to get a real job.
With over ninety books to her credit, she’s penned romantic suspense, romantic comedy and YA novels, but she especially likes writing dark romantic suspense and crime fiction set in small southern towns.
Keep up with all Rita’s latest news at her website
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PROLOGUE – WHITE LILIES CEMETERY
The angel’s voice echoed in the mountain wind as he knelt and traced a finger over her tombstone. But the devil’s sinister laughter rose above it. The devil had won.
CHAPTER ONE – FRIDAY – CROOKED CREEK, GEORGIA
“How does it feel to know your parents covered for a serial killer?”
Detective Ellie Reeves shifted restlessly in her seat. That was a loaded question and one she didn’t know how to answer. Not to the local press or to this therapist. Not even to herself.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS FROM THE BOOK
“Through the window the sun was shining like a beacon, nearly blinding her just as her parents lies had”
“I had to protect you because you were my daughter. I had to protect Hiram because he was my blood”
“When the cruelty of what one human could inflict on another stopped bothering them, it would be time to quit”
“The killer had challenged her. And Ellie Reeves did not back down from a challenge”
“Sorry son of a bitch. No wonder some people criticized small-town law enforcement”
“Something was going on here, something that wasn’t right. It was almost like the killer was lobbing grenades at her with clues pointing to different suspects. Was that part of his game?”
“The Weekday Killer”
“Monday’s child is fair of face
Tuesday’s child is full of grace
Wednesday’s child is full of woe
Thursday’s child has far to go
Friday’s child is loving and giving
Saturday’s child works hard for a living
And the child that is born on the Sabbath day is bonny and blithe, and good and gay”
“A blueprint for murder”
Oh Wow! This was such an excellent story! I just couldn’t bear to put my Kindle into sleep mode for a few minutes, even when I needed to catch up with other day-to-day, much more boring chores!
It was a good job that this book was broken down into bite-sized chunks and I can safely say that a mere 150 chapters made it manageable, even for me! I had thought that having this many breaks in the story might make it a little disjointed, however every new chapter saw a relocation in the action, bringing the storyline up close and personal, with each and every page being fast-paced and action filled to the brim.
Ellie Reeves is the latest in a long line of fictional detectives with more than enough personal baggage to sink a small ship. However this series goes one step further, as both stories to date have featured cases which have revolved around Ellie and her family personally, so it’s no wonder this small town is seemingly getting to experience far more than its fair share of death, murder, depravity, collusion and lying. And I’ll let you into a little secret – this second case leaves things hanging by a thread, so look out for book #3. I know I am. Although whether her bosses are going to come to the conclusion that Ellie is more of a liability than she is worth, is anyone’s guess. This story did however work great as a stand alone, as enough of the backstory was explained to keep me fully up to date, and that tantalising ending doesn’t involve any real carry over conclusion, unless you’re really nosy, like me!
This powerfully intense, multi-layered, well constructed and developed story, moved along at a breakneck pace, hardly allowing me time to draw breath before the next tumultuous event was discovered and called in to the investigating team. The air was constantly tense, as suspicion fell on first one, then another of this divided team, which left me emotionally drained and constantly playing catch-up. I had worked my suspect list down to two names quite early on and had guessed, with certainty in my own mind, which one had committed the crimes, not long after. However watching everyone else play catch-up was both fun and excruciatingly painful, as the bodies began stacking up – Oh! if only they could hear me, some of this anguish and pain might have been saved – or so I thought!
But wait! – both of my named suspects were suddenly proved innocent, as yet another twist in the tale was uncovered which threw me completely off track, leaving me totally at the author’s mercy, which in all fairness, it transpired I had been, right from the word go! Author Rita Herron masterfully owned this storyline right from the very first line and she never lost control, even down to that final tantalising teaser line. She is clearly a consummate exponent in the art of storytelling, supremely confident in which direction she wants to lead her readers at all times, and is able to throw in red herrings and blind alleys, seamlessly and at will, without breaking the pace or integrity of the plot, just by ramping up the tension a notch or two. At one point, just that little nudge and twist in the story, was enough to send shivers down my spine and make me certain that I shall never look at an undertaker in quite the same way ever again (even though in a previous line of work, I was in daily contact with more than one funeral home), now I just can’t get the vivid image that Rita so carefully constructed, out of my head!
Rita also writes with a beautifully descriptive and genuine sense of time and place. The compelling, visually descriptive narrative, meant that I could close my eyes and imagine myself in amongst those dark forbidding Appalachians, just as the impending storm drew ever closer. That feeling of being alone, open to the elements and at the total mercy of a crazed killer, wondering all the time if it was me he was coming for next, or if I was going to be the person to stumble upon the next body!
The multi-faceted characters were flawlessly well drawn and defined. Each one was emotionally complex and had baggage and a past which haunted them, making them quite difficult to read and connect with. They all had reasons to dislike and distrust other members of a team which really needed to work as a cohesive unit, meaning that the air was full of tension, suspicion and mistrust for much of the time, although in all fairness, none of them ever really took their eye off the ball for too long, with the possible exception of the one person who should have known better and not let their personal feelings and ego get in the way of the job in hand. As a result of some very complex and damaging family dynamics, Ellie herself often comes under suspicion during the course of this investigation, although she has estranged herself from her parents, in order to maintain some distance and further the career which she loves. However, when push comes to shove and a tough and resilient Ellie finds herself captive rather than captor, resulting events cause her to take stock and re-evaluate her position somewhat. Compromise might yet be too strong a word, as Ellie decides that blood is thicker than water, however exactly how she is going to reconcile her feelings for family, with the reaction of the community she serves, has yet to be established. There have been so many lives lost and families destroyed, can forgiveness and inclusion ever happen for Ellie, or is the job she has fought so hard to win for herself, doomed to be taken from her?
This storyline had it all, great characters, an amazing plot and a lovely armchair travellers journey through some fantastic scenery!
A complimentary kindle download of this book for review purposes, was made available by the publisher and supplied by NetGalley.
Any thoughts or comments are my own personal opinion and I am in no way being monetarily compensated for this, or any other article which promotes this book or its author.
I personally do not agree with ‘rating’ a book, as the overall experience is all a matter of personal taste, which varies from reader to reader. However some review sites do demand a rating value, so when this review is posted to such a site, it will attract a well deserved 5 out of 5 stars!