4 stars out of 5
Jumping into a series after it's been up and running can be somewhat risky, but when I got the opportunity to read an advance copy in exchange for an honest review, this one sounded so good that I threw caution to the wind and agreed. And happily, even though this is the sixth book featuring homicide detective Nan Vining, it stands well enough on its own that I never felt at a disadvantage.
The rather complicated story, which has a bundle of characters to keep straight, begins with the discovery of a naked and very dead woman in the swimming pool of a very wealthy couple in Pasadena, Calif. The self-absorbed husband, Teddy Sexton, is blind; to get around, he has help from an amazing guide dog and a drop-dead gorgeous wife, Rebecca - who bears an uncanny resemblance to the younger dead woman. The situation takes a strange turn, though, when the owners first contact Nan's former partner and current main squeeze, Jim Kissick, instead of calling 911. Jim claims that's because he's an old friend of the couple, but Nan begins to suspect the relationship between Jim and Teddy's wife Rebecca goes well beyond "just friends."
It was at that point, I'm afraid, that Nan dropped several notches on my likability scale. Despite her long-time relationship with Jim - they've been thinking about marriage, for gosh sake - the second Nan learns that Jim and Rebecca at one time (and a very short one at that) were a couple and - horror of horrors - he never told her, she concludes that their entire relationship has been based on a sham. I agree it would have been nice of him to tell her, but I simply can't relate to someone who would ditch an entire relationship over something that happened that long ago. Their breakup never got in the way of her competence as a homicide detective, though, so I'm willing to give her extra points for that.
Not long after the as-yet-unidentified woman is found, another dead woman turns up - this time at a lake in Central California after a lengthy drought lowered the water level. Nan is surprised once again when Jim, Teddy and Rebecca are brought in for questioning; it seems they all knew this dead woman many years ago. And when the dead woman in Pasadena is identified, it appears that the two cases somehow are connected with Jim smack dab in the middle - and Nan starts to believe that any future she may have had with him is history.
At that point, the investigation really heats up, both from Nan's end in Pasadena and that of two detectives (one of them a hunka-hunka) who are in charge of the Central California case. As details of both events begin to come together, it got so interesting that I stayed glued to my Kindle Fire till the whole thing was resolved (well, one thing wasn't, but no doubt that will be fodder for the next installment).
Know what? I'm in!
Lying Blind by Dianne Emley (Alibi/Random House, February 2017).