4 stars out of 5
Looking for a just-plain-good murder mystery with no female histrionics, flashbacks or chapters that flip back and forth from the perspectives of seven different characters? By golly, this one fills the bill. It's the second in a two-book series, and I must say I didn't feel at a disadvantage for not having read the first. Still, this one's good enough that if I could do it over again, I'd start at the beginning with Little Girl Gone (always my advice to anyone jumping into a series, BTW).
This one begins with an horrific scene in Minneapolis: Out of the blue (or perhaps more accurately, in the blue), a helicopter is blasted out of the sky. Turns out it was delivering a donor heart to multi-millionaire Leland Odin, head of a popular home shopping network who's at the brink of death and waiting for a transplant. Needless to say, the pilots were killed, and the fallout resulted in dozens of injuries on the ground. Also not surprisingly, the police hit the ground running - most notably, family liaison officer Afton Tangler and her partner Max Montgomery.
Early on, it becomes clear that someone is out to get the ailing Odin; as he clings to life in his hospital bed hoping a new heart will become available in time to save him, someone manages to sneak in and slit his throat (thus rendering moot that new heart). Now, the investigation centers on who wanted the guy dead and why.
Could it be his business partner, perhaps hoping for a big payout by selling off the shopping network? Could it be his obscenely rich wife, looking for a big payout through inheritance (or possibly payback for his cheating heart)? Or could it be that his illicit business deals have crossed a powerful someone who then put Odin in his or her crosshairs?
There's a fair amount of violence that turns personal for Afton, who keeps following clues that bring her closer to the truth (despite warnings from her partner and other department officials to back off a bit, reminding her that she's not a "real" police officer and doesn't even carry a weapon). Of course, she doesn't listen - and the chase is on to catch the killers before they catch her.
In short, this is a perfect book for beach reading, or any time you simply want to get lost in a fast-moving, interesting story. Many thanks to the publisher, via NetGalley, for providing me with an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
Shadow Girl by Gerry Schmitt (Berkley, August 2017); 320 pp.