Her Final Breath
reviewed by Pam Guynn
Carolyn Arnold brings suspense, action, and intense moments to Her Final Breath, a gripping police procedural and crime thriller that is the seventh book in a series. The setting largely takes place in Prince William County in northern Virginia and features Detective Amanda Steele. Amanda, a seasoned detective, is partnered with Detective Trent Stenson.
Amanda is the first detective on the scene when a dog walker finds the bodies of a mother and daughter in a local park. After identifying them, Amanda and Trent soon learn they were reported missing last week. However, something seems off when they interview the husband. Did a domestic argument escalate or is something else happening in this community?
Amanda continues to balance work and family. Last year, she adopted a young girl from a previous case, Zoe Parker. Her support system is great and very much needed with her time-demanding job. Amanda’s flaws and struggles made her seem realistic. She shows growth and depth as the story progresses, and readers continue to get more insight into Trent in this story as well as Sergeant Graves. Trent is loyal, funny, and always has Amanda’s back. Readers learn more about Graves’ background and her actions become supportive of the team in this story.
The novel builds suspense in a way that pulls readers into the lives of the characters. As usual, Arnold starts with an outstanding prologue that grabs readers’ attention and a first chapter that adds to the drama. The plot is intriguing, full of chasing down leads and interviewing suspects and witnesses in anticipation of identifying the killer.
The angst and sense of urgency felt by Amanda and Trent as they tried to make sense of the circumstances kept me turning the pages. The descriptive narrative transported me into the terrifying world of the victims and the investigators. I enjoyed how the author twisted the plot points and provided unpredictable moments in the story. These twists and surprises keep readers on their toes. The author weaves murder, relationships, families, respect, domestic violence, and more into a finely crafted tale.
Overall, this novel was thought-provoking and engrossing with tension that almost felt alive. This is the tenth book that I have read by this author. I can’t wait to find out what is next for Amanda and Trent. I recommend this to those that like police procedurals and crime thrillers with relatable and likeable main characters.
Bookouture and Carolyn Arnold provided a complimentary digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own. Publication date is currently expected to be February 17, 2023.