This book didn’t start out great for me as personally I strongly dislike seeing the death itself unless the main character is present. However, this author did do a good job in not revealing details of the crime in the scene. That risk of revealed details is a big piece of why I dislike that type of opener. I prefer to only know what the sleuth knows so I can puzzle out the clues.
The other issue I often have with this technique is that many times it’s used to artificially create tension and hook early in the story, relying on the reader expecting the murder to happen to provide and carry suspense through an otherwise slow opening.
Sadly, that seems to be the case here. The sleuth is collecting clues before the fact, so there are important details involved and not just the stage setting I’ve often experienced, but it just felt slow. I think the fact that the murder hadn’t happened and the incidents had no motivation contributed to the overly slow pace. She wasn’t sleuthing. She just happened to be experiencing things that later ended up useful. So the story in that section lacks agency and that impacts the investigation as a whole.
Despite these drawbacks, I end up with a 3.5 star rating because I absolutely loved the MC’s voice. The end of the book pulls things together beautifully and with great details.
I’d definitely give more works from this author a chance, especially if they have the same sleuth. That’s really what it comes down to, isn’t it? Whether I’d want to track down more or not.