I received this book for free from the TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Killing Secrets by Dianne Emley
Series: Nan Vining Mysteries #5
Published by Alibi, Random House on July 21, 2015
Genres: Adult, Crime, Family, Law & Crime, Marriage & Divorce, Mysteries & Detective Stories, Mystery, New Experience, Parents, Psychological Thriller, Social Issues, Thriller
Source: TLC Book Tours
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For fans of Patricia Cornwell, Tana French, and Lisa Gardner comes a razor-sharp novel of suspense featuring Detective Nan Vining—a single mother whose worlds collide when her teenage daughter stumbles upon a grisly double homicide.
When she gets the call, Nan Vining responds as a mother first and a detective second. Her daughter, Emily, has made a gruesome discovery in a secluded section of a Pasadena park: a pretty, popular young teacher from Emily’s high school and a bright yet troubled transfer student—both dead and bloody in a copse of trees. But the crime scene isn’t the only thing that seems off to Detective Vining. There’s also the cocky classmate who was with Emily in the park—the boyfriend she never knew about. What else doesn’t she know about her daughter?
As she attempts to channel both her maternal and investigative instincts into one single point of focus, Vining’s superiors at the Pasadena Police Department are moving at lightning speed. Before the evidence has even been processed, the case is closed as a clear-cut murder/suicide: a disturbed teenager murders his teacher, then takes his own life. Vining doesn’t buy it. Now she’s chasing dangerous, powerful people with secrets they would kill for—and taking them down means risking her own flesh and blood.
Mysteries and thrillers are a favorite genre of mine, and Dianne Emley is an author that I’ve enjoyed before. I’ve reviewed her previous thriller with a paranormal slant, The Night Visitor, last year, and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone. I cracked open the protective cover for my Kindle pretty eagerly to start Killing Secrets, just wanting to dig right in to see what Dianne Emley has come up with next.
Nan Vining is a homicide detective in the Pasadena Police Department, and when her 16-year-old daughter Emily and Emily’s boyfriend stumble upon a couple of bodies in a forest preserve, Nan’s first instinct is to go into mom-mode and protect her daughter–and then question why she’s never even heard of this Ashton boyfriend before now. But when she’s shut out of this apparent murder-suicide of her daughter’s favorite teacher and the student who was taken under her wing, Nan is suspicious when the crime is closed less than twenty-four hours after the discovery after the bodies. She knows that something stinks, and it’s not just her formerly sweet daughters horrible attitude.
There are problems with this investigation from the start. Too many people with their irons in the fire, but most of them are content to close the case and move on. The higher ups don’t want their lead homicide detective–Nan–sticking her highly successful nose into it. But you have the poor mother of the son who is accused of killing his teacher and then slitting his own wrists, insisting that her son would do no such a thing, especially after his big shot prosecutor father supposedly committed suicide–and the family is insisting that they were both murdered. The teacher is another story altogether since she was in the middle of a very messy divorce from an alcoholic cop who works on the same police force as Nan. Was this really a case of murder-suicide, or is it something much more dangerous?
Even though this is the fifth book in this series, this is the first one that I’ve read and I had no problems jumping right in and figuring everything out. I really liked Nan and her no-nonsense attitude. She has a few people on the force that she can trust implicitly, but her gut told her to stear clear of everyone else. Nan is very human, realistic, and cares for her daughter.
I give Killing Secrets a five out of five. Dianne Emley really knows how to write mysteries/thrillers with tight plot lines and just the right amount of breathing room to give you a rest, but then you’re right back in the heat of the action. This book definitely had a more personal slant, showing a vulnerable side to the main character that you don’t see very often in a protagonist of a crime thriller–and that was very refreshing. This book was all about family and the growing pains that they have as the children grow up and the parents start to find themselves left out in the cold about their childrens’ lives. As a mother, I can fully relate to that. I read most of this book in a couple of sittings since I didn’t want to put it down, and I can’t wait to read the next installments.
About Dianne Emley
Los Angeles Times bestselling author Dianne Emley is a Los Angeles native, growing up far from the city’s glitz and glamour in a hardscrabble neighborhood in the multicultural Northeast side, where she attended public schools. She earned a B.A. in Philosophy and an MBA, both from UCLA, and has held a variety of day jobs, mostly in business middle management. For years during the early morning before she headed to the office, she wrote fiction. Her first book, Cold Call—a mystery about Iris Thorne—a sexy, single L.A. investment counselor in the “greed is good” late 1980s—was sold at auction to Pocket Books/Simon and Schuster and published in 1993. It was followed by four more books in that series.
After Dianne moved to Pasadena, a historic city neighboring L.A., and began volunteering for the Pasadena Police Department, she was inspired to take her writing in a new direction and began writing about Nan Vining—a haunted and driven homicide detective and single mom. The first in the series, The First Cut (2006), was a Los Angeles Times bestseller and hit #1 on Amazon. The series fifth, Killing Secrets, will be out in July 2015.
The Night Visitor, a standalone paranormal mystery, was published in 2014.
Critics around the world have praised Dianne’s books, which have been published in 20 countries and translated into six languages: “A gripping page-turner…” (Library Journal); “Expertly plotted… redolent with suspense and action…” (Florida Sun-Sentinel); “A superior piece of storytelling…” (Los Angeles Times); “Relentless suspense…” (Booklist).
Dianne lives in the Central California wine country with her husband where she writes full time and is a pretty good cook, an amateur oenophile, and a terrible golfer.
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