Whoa whoa whoa.... hold the phone. This guy wrote chick-lit (romantic novels for the politically correct) prior to this? Braaavo. Talk about a pretty solid detour into the crime mystery direction. I had never heard of Brynzda until now. Funny what a random search for kindle deals on amazon can conjure up.
Andrea Douglas-Brown, the daughter of a wealthy presumptuous family, is found dead under the cold frigid waters in South London (the gritty area). The head of the household, Simon Douglas, is a powerful business magnate who throws his power around at will. His reputation is at stake once the secrets of Andrea are exposed... you know... promiscuity, heavy drug usage, table-top dancing all in the name of reckless abandonment. Those things don't sit well with him so the investigation into Andrea’s murder therefore must be dealt with posthaste.
Enter Erika Foster. A highly skilled DCI detective who's back by popular demand... well not exactly. She has a tortuous crippling past that involved the death of five colleagues and a loved one because of a miscalculation. As expected, this rubs some people the wrong way in the police force. Oh and the case remains unsolved (double whammy). Suffice to say, this continues to eat away at her in the present day. Determined to move on with life and right her wrongs, Erika finds herself heavily invested in the Douglas-Brown case. But there are those that are less enthusiastic with her suspicions, and soon the investigation gets really dirty and politic-ish.
As she begins to see connections to other recent murders and feels like she is getting somewhere, she hits brick wall after brick wall. Can she close the case before the killer strikes again? Or will Erika be traumatized by yet another unsolved crime?
Right from jump street, I was sucked in. An intense opener that pushed all the suspenseful buttons. After that, the story plays out in typical police procedural fashion. It took a little long for things to get heated up. There's the standard questioning, the autopsy evaluation, grievance from the family, yada yada yada. Sluggish of course, but the scenes are so well-written and properly dramatized that they're easy to forgive. Once the second half came into play, the story turned into a sizzling inferno. It sent me bouncing everywhere like a freakin' pinball. There were several times when I thought I had the killer's identity in my grasp, but then moments later, I found myself right back at square one. The story was like "Nope, not so fast. I'm not done toying with you yet hahaha." It kept churning my wheels and despite my frustration, I felt compelled to get to the bottom of things just as much as Erika. The hallmarks of a kick-ass mystery thriller, wouldn't you say?
There are some people who said that there wasn't much depth to Erika. Ummmm... I beg to differ. Under the tough cop persona lies a woman who's essentially broken. She's guilt-ridden, introspective, and vulnerable. At times she's defiant, almost to a fault but you can't help but to root for her. You want her to keep rolling with the punches and conquer her inner turmoil. You want her to make the police force look like jackasses by solving the case once she's exiled from it. You want her to slap the crap out of Simon Douglas-Brown for being such an entitled douche (well at least I did). The only thing that got under my skin was the killer's motive. I thought it was rather simplistic and a little formulaic for such a twisty story. That was where the "depth" was lacking for me.
Pleasantly surprised with this one. I see that there's a second book that came out in June. I think I'll have to give it a looksy.