Monday, August 24, 2020

SERIES REVIEW - Detective Katie Scott


In this blog post, I will be reviewing the first three books in the Detective Katie Scott series by Jennifer Chase. The fourth book, Last Girls Alive, will be released in October.




Title:   Little Girls Sleeping
Publisher:  Bookouture
Genre:   Mystery Thrillers
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   316
Date of Publication:   May 31, 2019
My Rating:   4 Stars

DESCRIPTION:

He looked down at the little girl, sleeping peacefully, her arms wrapped around a teddy bear. He knew he was the only one who could save her. He could let her sleep forever.

An eight-year-old girl, Chelsea Compton, is missing in Pine Valley, California and for Detective Katie Scott it’s a cruel reminder of the friend who disappeared from summer camp twenty years ago. Unable to shake the memories, Katie vows she won’t rest until she discovers what happened to Chelsea.


But as Katie starts to investigate, the case reveals itself to be much bigger and more shocking than she feared. Hidden deep in the forest she unearths a makeshift cemetery: a row of graves, each with a brightly coloured teddy bear.


Katie links the graves to a stack of missing-persons cases involving young girls—finding a pattern no one else has managed to see. Someone in Pine Valley has been taking the town’s daughters for years, and Katie is the only one who can stop them.


And then another little girl goes missing, snatched from the park near her home.


Katie’s still haunted by the friend she failed to protect, and she’ll do anything to stop the killer striking again—but can she find the little girl before it’s too late? 


MY THOUGHTS:

The killer poses the bodies. Little girls, arms wrapped around teddy bears, appearing to sleep peacefully. When eight-year-old Chelsea Compton is discovered missing in Pine Valley, California, Detective Katie Scott is disturbingly reminded of her friend that had gone missing at summer camp two decades before. So, Katie takes Chelsea's case quite personally.

Sadly, and rather triggering, Katie soon discovers that Chelsea is not the only girl gone missing for quite some time. As a matter of fact, the cold cases of several missing girls keeps piling up. Katie is determined to find a pattern, a way to link all of the disappearances together. She truly hopes that the graves she has discovered, with the posed bodies of small children, that Chelsea will not be among them.

Before Katie can even find Chelsea, another girl has gone missing, thus raising the bar and intensifying Katie's search. Meanwhile, the constant reminders of her friend all those years ago is constantly plaguing her.

Wow! What a way to start a new series! The tension begins right from the very start, delivered in a very fast pace, even with the mix of past and present. Any time I start a new series, I look for a way to connect with the primary protagonist. That was easy to do in this book because Katie's feelings were palpable, making me think and worry just as she was doing.

This thrilling book kept me on my toes from beginning to end. I was eager to move right on to the second book in the series, Her Last Whisper.

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.


Title:   Her Last Whisper
Publisher:  Bookouture
Genre:   Mystery Thrillers
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   330
Date of Publication:   October 21, 2019
My Rating:   4 Stars

DESCRIPTION:

Katie focuses her mind, trying to keep another anxiety attack at bay. The victim’s long brown hair is slick and wet, her body rigid in the grass. She looks more like a mannequin than the woman Katie had spoken with only yesterday, the woman she had promised to protect…

When a cold, naked body is discovered by a couple on a jog through the lush woodlands of Pine Valley, California, new recruit Detective Katie Scott is stunned to discover the victim is Amanda Payton – a much-loved local nurse and the woman at the heart of an unsolved case she’s been investigating whilst getting a grip on her crippling PTSD.


Weeks earlier, Amanda had run, battered and bruised, out into the headlights of a passing patrol car. She claimed to have just escaped a kidnapping, but with no strong evidence, the case went cold. The Pine Valley police made a fatal mistake…


Katie is certain the marks on Amanda’s wrists complete a pattern of women being taken, held captive and then showing up dead in remote locations around Pine Valley – and she won’t let someone die on her watch again.


But then a beautiful office worker with a link to the hospital where Amanda worked goes missing. With only days before the next body is due to show up, can Katie make amends for her past by saving this innocent life?


Totally gripping crime fiction for fans of Lisa Regan, Rachel Caine and Melinda Leigh. Nothing will prepare you for this nail-biting roller-coaster ride…


MY THOUGHTS:

Readers got to meet Detective Katie Scott in the first book of the series, Little Girls Sleeping. Katie dealt with a difficult case previously as it reminded her of when her friend had gone missing years before. So, she suffers from anxiety attacks, and with her current case, things get more difficult for her. Coping with PTSD is hard on anyone, with her being still rather new in her job Katie definitely has her challenges.

Her newest case is that of a woman found by joggers. Katie recognizes the woman to be a local nurse named Amanda Payton. Previously, Amanda went to the police, bruised and battered, saying she had escaped a kidnapper. The police did not have enough evidence so things were left unresolved. Tragically, soon Katie and her fellow officers are shocked to discover that it is Amanda's body that has been found. When another woman goes missing, connected to the same hospital that Amanda worked at, Katie realizes that the clock is ticking before yet another body is discovered.

I already fell in love with Katie in the first book, but even more so no. I deal with some emotional issues, including PTSD, so I was easily able to relate to Katie. However, because of her job, her handle on the triggers relating to that had to be handled, all while she kept putting one foot in front of the other. I also got to really got to see Katie's relationship with her K9 partner Cisco grow. As I always enjoy this type of partnership in books, this was an extra bonus. Also, she is again partnered with Deputy McGaven and they make a good team.

Her Last Whisper is an excellent sophomore novel to a series that I am thoroughly enjoying. It is well-written, with compelling characters, an excellent plot, some nice twists and turns and a riveting conclusion.

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.

- - - - - 

Publisher:  Bookouture
Genre:   Mystery Thrillers
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   328
Date of Publication:   March 24, 2020
My Rating:   4 Stars

DESCRIPTION:

On the floor, amongst the piles of freshly pressed laundry, lay the woman’s lifeless body, her pale yellow nightdress soaked in blood. “I didn’t do it…” came a whisper from the corner of the room.

Detective Katie Scott has never seen two people more in love than her aunt and uncle as they danced together on the night of their wedding anniversary party. But the next morning, when Katie finds her aunt’s body sprawled across the floor, that perfect image is shattered forever.


All fingers point to Katie’s uncle, Pine Valley’s beloved sheriff and protector – after all, his prints are all over the antique knife found at the scene. Grieving, but certain of her uncle’s innocence, Katie is consigned to the cold case division after she’s discovered searching the house for clues.


Does someone want to keep her as far away from this investigation as possible?


Ignoring warnings from her team, Katie digs into her uncle’s old case files and discovers photographs of the body of a young girl found tied to a tree after a hike in search of a rare flower. Her body is covered with the same unusual lacerations her aunt suffered. Katie knows it can’t be a coincidence, but every lead she follows takes her to a dead end.


Moments before the sheriff is arrested, Katie realizes that a single piece of thread she found at the crime scene could be the missing link that will stitch old crimes to new.


But how can she prove her uncle’s innocence without throwing herself directly into the line of fire? She doesn’t have a choice, he’s the only family she has left… 



MY THOUGHTS:

Admittedly, I am writing this review six months after I read the book, as I was dreadfully behind in writing. However, I cannot forget a single aspect of this book, including the traumatic response Detective Katie Scott has when she discovers that her aunt has been brutally murdered. Her uncle is the town's sheriff and as the next of kin is usually the primary suspect, Katie is forced to look at her uncle. However, because they are related, Katie is transferred to the cold case division.

Is it because they are related, or could there be another reason that Katie is being pulled away from the case? Stubbornly, Katie begins to dig and dig, and the more she gets into her uncle's files, the more concerned she gets. Actually, she finds evidence of a case years ago that seems like it just might be a connection as to what happened to her aunt. Will Katie successfully prove her uncle's innocence? Or will he be arrested for the brutal murder.

This fast-paced story kept me guessing and more than riveted, page after page. Because I had read the first two books in the series, I was more than familiar with Katie's aunt and uncle, as well as how close she was to the both of them. I am one who is devoted to reading series from the beginning, and when the fourth book, Last Girls Alive, came up for review this upcoming October, I went ahead and read these first three books, including Little Girls Sleeping and Her Last Whisper.

Jennifer Chase is doing a fabulous job at making Katie someone that is very easy to relate to. I also love the supporting characters in each book. With excellent writing and engrossing storylines, I am more than eager to continue this thrilling series.


Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning author and consulting criminologist. She has authored eight crime fiction novels, including the multiple award-winning Emily Stone thriller series along with a screenwriting workbook.


Jennifer holds a Bachelor degree in police forensics and a Master's degree in criminology. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent sociopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling. She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists.



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