Troubled San Francisco homicide detective Valerie Hart is planning a rare weekend away from the job when she gets the call. A body has been found. A woman, brutally murdered. And the cryptic note left by the body is addressed to Valerie.
The victim is unknown to her, but as Valerie analyses the scene, the clues begin to point in a deeply disturbing direction: to a maximum security prison where a woman called Katherine Glass is awaiting execution for a series of gruesome killings. And Valerie was the cop who put her there.
The last thing Valerie wants to do is re-enter Katherine’s twisted world, but when a second body is discovered, with another puzzling clue, she realises she has no choice. Katherine Glass holds the key to the killings, and Valerie needs to find out what she knows before the murders come even closer to home.
Even if it means playing a deadly game where once again, the psychopathic killer holds all the cards.
First line: “Exquisitely beautiful Katherine Glass was the most hated woman in America, and on a wet Tuesday afternoon in May 2009 San Fransisco homicide detective Valerie Hart sat in the Bryant Street courtroom staring at the back of her infamous blonde head.”
I was so excited when I realised there was a second Valerie Hart novel after The Killing Lessons, because I loved that book so much. Never did I expect to love this one even more! But here we are, with that teeny tiny extra half a star more on this book than the last.
What’s so strange about my love for this book is that it’s the same thing that brought The Killing Lessons down in my eyes. The sensationalism. In The Killing Lessons, the whole book felt realistic until the ending that seemed to take a dramatic turn – it felt too out of the blue that it shocked me a little and dampened my enjoyment on the book. However, this book was a crazy, Hollywood rollercoaster from page one and I lapped it up. The killers and the crimes were so outrageous I couldn’t even begin to care about how realistic it was, I was just enjoying the ride too much.
Like with the previous novel, a lot of this book focuses heavily on the characters emotional states and Black weaves these scenes so beautifully, you feel as though you’re there with the character, feeling what they feel. Again, this novel is so unlike any other crime novel I’ve read, with stunning poetic descriptions, realistic conversations, and exciting character development.
Another thing I loved so much about this novel is that it has witty moments that give you a break from all the trauma. The first book is a little darker in tone due to Valerie’s mental state, but, without giving too much away, her predicament has changed and she has more to look on the bright side about. This creates lighter, and sometimes sexier, conversations to happen throughout the book which makes the whole thing that little bit easier to digest.
My one bug-bear with LoveMurder is the fact that I guessed the bad guy from about the second time we met them. With The Killing Lessons we meet the killers straightaway, we know them while the detectives are still trying to work out who they are. With this one, the killer is left ‘in the dark’ alongside the detective’s investigation, but not for me. At the end of the day, it was still fun to see the detectives find out who it is but it would have been more fun if I had found that late in the story too.
Overall, I loved this book and I’m hoping there’s more to come in this series! If you’re looking for an emotional, dark, but also exciting and sometimes funny thriller novel, definitely consider picking this one up!