Phillips hits the ground running with this gripping mystery, the start of a promising new series. Makenna "Kenna" Banbury, an ex-FBI agent turned P.I., must unravel a string of puzzling deaths in Salt Lake City, right after she closes the deadly case that originally brought her back home. With the help of her old friend and local police officer Ryson and FBI Special Agent Oliver Jaxton, Kenna wades through the details of murder after murder, a calling that’s her way of dealing with a traumatizing encounter from her own past. But the FBI’s trying to tie the murders to her, and her hometown stirs complex feelings, complications that enrich a narrative that truly earns the description “breathless.”
With twists and turns even seasoned mystery readers could never see coming, readers will find this story of an emotionally damaged P.I. doing whatever it takes to find the truth a read that’s hard to put down. The vivid narrative and intriguing descriptions will draw readers in from the knockout opening pages. Kenna proves a driven, dynamic lead, possessed of great conviction and agency as well as a backstory that resonates powerfully in her present. In fact, the mystery surrounding her leaving the FBI to hunt killers on her own proves as compelling as the case she’s on. The dialogue is crisp and clean, and the action is rendered in sharp jolts, with Phillips rarely wasting a word as the novel surges ahead.
With personal stakes set high and a protagonist who seems to harbor a secret or two, readers will be on the edge of their seats till the rousing finish. Phillips demonstrates a shrewd understanding of genre conventions and reader expectations, consistently upending and honoring both. Fans of private detectives, serial crimes, and detailed criminal plots will fall head over heels for Kenna—and for what’s next.
Takeaway: The polished, gripping kickoff to a promising new detective series.
Great for fans of: Elle Gray’s FBI Mystery Thriller Series, Stacy Willingham’s A Flicker in the Dark.
Production grades Cover: A Design and typography: A Illustrations: N/A Editing: A Marketing copy: A