What Doesn't Kill You

What Doesn't Kill You

by Aimee Hix


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A favor for a friend turns into a murder investigation, drawing apprentice PI Willa Pennington into a labyrinth of lies and deception in the shadows of Washington, D.C.

Willa Pennington thought that becoming a PI would be better than being a cop. She thought she'd never have to make another death notification or don a bulletproof vest again. She thought she could move past the pain of losing her best friend. She thought she'd be safe.

But she couldn't have been more wrong.

Now, agreeing to do a simple favor has brought her to a dead body, a missing person, and a battle of wits with an old friend who has dangerous secrets. If Willa can keep her focus, she could solve the murder, find the missing girl, and figure out if the person she's trusted with her life is the one trying to end it.


A 2019 Lefty Award Nominee

A 2018 Agatha Award Nominee for Best First Novel

"One of the best debut efforts I've ever seen. Tight plotting, edge-of-your-seat suspense and a protagonist in PI Willa Pennington you'll want to read about again and again. I couldn't put this book down."—Maggie Barbieri, author of Once Upon a Lie

"A debut that saddles tough-girl noir with the heart of a cozy."—Kirkus Reviews

"This is a solid beginning to a character and setting that could go on to very good things."—RT Book Reviews

"Aimee Hix is an up-and-coming author everyone should watch."—Crimespree Magazine

"The book has plent of twists and surprises, but what stands out is the tight writing and fast narrative of the author's debut novel."—Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780738754437
Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide, LTD.
Publication date: 01/08/2018
Series: A Willa Pennington, PI Mystery Series , #1
Pages: 264
Sales rank: 743,279
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Aimee Hixis a former defense contractor turned mystery writer. She’s a member of Sisters in Crime. What Doesn’t Kill You is her debut novel.

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What Doesn't Kill You 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
SuZ2Reader More than 1 year ago
What Doesn’t Kill You is Aimee Hix’s debut novel. She now has a second out in the same series (Willa Pennington, PI Mysteries), Dark Streets, Cold Suburbs, which I am eager to read. If you like strong female protagonists in detective/mystery series such as Sara Paretsky’s V.I. Warshawski or Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone, you’ll enjoy Hix’s Willa Pennington. Willa retired from the police department in her late twenties to apprentice with her father as a private investigator. A neighbor asks her to help their daughter move from the apartment she shares with her abusive boyfriend. Willa arrives just in time to find no daughter, just the boyfriend’s body. This is a lovely debut book. Hix has impeccable timing in her plotting and manages to keep all the plot balls juggling until the reveal. Hix manages to blend cozy mystery domesticity (scenes with Willa’s family add to this ambiance) and noir. Hot/cold scenes with Seth, a one-night stand/old friend who’s reentered her life provide a sizzle of sex appeal and add to the twists and turns of the plot. The reader can look forward to great characterization, a tense storyline, and a first novel that provides a good underpinning to the sequels to come.
Marla-Bradeen More than 1 year ago
A wonderful debut, WHAT DOESN'T KILL YOU stars a sassy heroine determined to prove herself. The mystery is intriguing, the characters are well-drawn, and the plot moves along at a good pace. Humor and romance round out the package to make this story a great pick for any mystery fan. Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book.
DaneWeimMama More than 1 year ago
Fantastic story!! What Doesn't Kill You is one of those rare books that I just couldn't put down- read way late into the night (or early morning). I thought the author did a great job on combining a great mystery with a heartfelt romance. I loved the characters the author created. I can't wait to read more by Aimee Hix & look forward to more stories in the Willa Pennington series. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
JayRoberts More than 1 year ago
The debut mystery novel from author Aimee Hix came to my attention via a blog post on the Jungle Red Writers site. After reading that post I was very intrigued and ordered the book the same day. Now that I've been able to get around to reading it, I found it to be a solid book that serves a strong foundational launchpad for the series as a whole. Willa Pennington is training to become a private investigator after having left the police force. She's apprenticing to her father. While he and her mother are out of town, she's called upon to help the granddaughter of a family friend move out on her abusive ex-boyfriend. But that favor leads to the discovery of the dead body of said boyfriend and suddenly a relatively simple moving job transforms not into a murder investigation but finds Willa's life threatened. The girlfriend is in the wind and the inquiries Willa makes leads to an awkward reunion with the older brother of her deceased best friend. As Willa continues to try and clear the granddaughter of suspicion in the death of the ex, she finds herself questioning if those around her might somehow be involved and looking to tie up any loose ends...including her. The author does a nice job of establishing Willa as an unassuming badass without making her seem patently ridiculous or unbelievable. She's got actual training so she's no lightweight in either investigatory matters or when the situation calls for it, fighting off an attacker. But broadening the character by making her a devoted big sister to a computer genius younger brother and giving her the often joked about by others habit of being a junk food junkie was a nice, if a tad familiar, touch. The supporting cast includes Seth Anderson, the older brother of Willa's late friend. They share a past of both happy and sad memories, all of which come rushing back at their reunion. His introduction immediately had me suspecting him of secrets which I was proved right upon as the story unfolded but rather than be disappointed in how easy that was to figure out, I went along for the ride as the truth was learned by Willa in due course. I don't know if Detective Jan Boyd is planned to be a recurring character for the series, but I did enjoy her scenes in this book and would love to learn more about her in future books. I will say that at times I wanted to see Willa ditch the internal dialogue and get on with things, but this being the first book in the series, it was necessary to give the readers as much of a full picture of the character and set things up for what I'm sure are to be great things to come. For me, "What Doesn't Kill You" is a debut novel for both the author and the character that gives readers a strong feeling of what's to come for a bright new addition to the PI literary genre.
booklover- More than 1 year ago
Willa Pennington is an ex-cop, now in training to follow her father as a Private Investigator. She is asked to help a family friend's daughter. The daughter wants to leave the house she's been sharing with her abusive boyfriend ... and wants someone with her while she moves. When Willa arrives at the house, the girl is nowhere to be found. However, the boyfriend is there ..and he's dead. Doing her duty, she calls the police and reports. From there, what should have happened was for Willa to go about her own business. But Willa is not wired that way. She has a bad habit of sticking her nose in where it's not needed .. or wanted. But then, this case becomes personal for her. Seth is an old flame, the older brother of her best friend who was killed overseas. The attraction has always been there, but there's only been a single one-night stand ...and that was years ago. Seth appears out of nowhere and has an extremely high interest in the death of the man. While Willa is still attracted ... she doesn't trust easily. And when someone attempts to kill her .. twice .. she's wondering just who she can or cannot trust. This is the author's debut novel and the beginning of what looks to be a terrific series. Willa is a wonderful character. She's young, she's feisty, headstrong & stubborn, and is still trying to come to terms with the loss of her best friend of many years. She has a younger brother that she adores and would protect with her life. And then there's Seth ... the man she's been attracted to forever. But he has secrets ... secrets that he's not sharing with Willa. The book is suspenseful. There's a lot of action, some of it quite brutal. The author has done a fine job balancing Willa's professional life with her personal life. I look forward to seeing more of this author ... and Willa Pennington. Many thanks to the author / Midnight Ink / Netgalley for the advanced digital copy. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.
Momma_Becky More than 1 year ago
2.5 stars I'm always on the lookout for a good mystery or thriller and the blurb for this one sounded quite promising. Unfortunately, the reality didn't quite live up to that promise. The story starts out mysterious enough with our main character finding a dead body, but it quickly becomes more about Willa and Seth's relationship than anything else. I like romance and may have been okay with that part had I cared enough about these characters to want to see them together. Willa turned me off from the beginning when she views finding the body as more inconvenience than anything else and seemed to only use the I'm sorry, this is my first time finding a dead body and I'm upset reasoning when it suited her. I can appreciate sarcasm and even gallows humor. In fact, I often like it in a story, but it just didn't work here. Willa comes off more crass and uncaring than anything else. I also realize that this is fiction and a certain amount of leeway can be given, but the idea that an ex-police officer would be allowed to walk through a crime scene and be that involved in an active investigation was a bit much for me. We do get a decent bit of action toward the end, but it just wasn't enough to save this one for me. The author does show some potential, but in the end, this character and story just wasn't for me and I don't think I'll explore the series further.