Thursday, February 9, 2023

Her Final Breath

Her Final Breath by Carolyn Arnold
2/17/23; 323 pages
Detective Amanda Steel #7

Her Final Breath by Carolyn Arnold is a very highly recommended procedural and the 7th novel featuring Detective Amanda Steele.

A dog walker reports a fire made in Prince Park by a group of teens. When the firefighters arrive, one of the teens end up stumbling upon a body in a shallow grave. Prince William County Police Department Homicide Detective Amanda Steele is called and she contacts her partner Trent Stenson as well as others, including department Sergeant Katherine Graves. The team uncovers a woman and a child. They quickly identify them as Jill Archer and her daughter six-year-old Charlotte, who were reported missing the previous week. The autopsy reveals Jill was abused and the . When Amanda and Trent talk to Jill's husband, Roy, he seems very shifty and is immediately the main suspect - until another grave is uncovered in the park of another mother and daughter.

The opening scene where we learn that a woman and her daughter are captives somewhere, provides a sense of urgency in the narrative when combined with the bodies in the park. Clues are logically uncovered and discovered while leads are followed up on in an intelligent manner. The women could be the recipients of domestic abuse, or someone could be targeting mothers and daughters. The latter explanation is even more frightening than the first and Amanda and Trent know they need to find the culprit before another mother and daughter are killed.

This is an excellent procedural. The writing is great, the novel is well plotted, and the tension rises with each new discovery. Although this is the 7th novel in the series, it can be read as a stand-alone. For those already familiar with the series, this new installment will be a welcome addition to their story. New readers are provided enough backstory to understand events from the past and the effect of this case on both Amanda and Trent. All the main characters are fully realized, likable, and experience growth, even a surprising development to Graves character. Her Final Breath is a perfect choice for those who like procedurals.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Bookouture via NetGalley.

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