You Can Die
reviewed by Pam Guynn
Men are dying near churches with valentine candy hearts shoved in their mouths and multiple stab wounds. This crime thriller with a bit of romance features FBI Special Agent Laurel Snow in the third book in the series. The victims appear to be family men with community ties. Is there a link between them or are they randomly picked?
Laurel’s brilliant half-sister, Dr. Abigail Caine, continues to play a large role in this story. She plays mind games with others in the story, including Laurel. Washington Fish and Wildlife Captain Huck Rivers and his team assist Laurel and her team. This seems to be a case of opposites attract.
The characterization is excellent. As the protagonist, Laurel is reasonably strong, honest, and brilliant, but she also has some vulnerabilities. She has an eidetic memory and started college when she was 11. With multiple degrees, she has been successful in her career, but sometimes misses underlying signals from others in social situations. She has dedicated herself to taking criminals off the street. Captain Huck Rivers is something of a loner, is charming and nice, but has trust issues. He likes rules and routines and likes to be in control of situations. Their attraction to each other is only a small part of the story. Abigail is intelligent and a manipulator. The other characters had depth; especially the members of Laurel’s team and Ena, a fish and wildlife officer.
Most of the story is from Laurel’s point of view and is set in and around Genesis Valley, Washington. From her unusual background, to her atypical reflections as she tries to figure out what game the killer is playing with them, to her relentless pursuit of justice for the victims, readers will root for her success.
The well-written story has a clever and deeply involved plot with enough twists and red herrings to keep a reader guessing. The pacing and dialogue are great. As they evolved, the plot facts were intriguing and occasionally unexpected. The suspense builds steadily throughout the story. The physical world-building was vivid and I could feel the cold, sleet, and snow pelting the characters. I wanted a little more closure of one of the threads weaved into the story. However, that may be resolved in the next book. Other themes in the story include friendship, family, romance, desire to learn, and much more.
Overall, this was a riveting story with intense scenes as well as compelling and complex characters that kept me fully engaged. It’s skillfully written and will appeal to readers who enjoy psychological thrillers and police procedurals involving serial killers. The intricacy of the plot plus attention to detail in the world-building made this a definite winner for me. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
Kensington Books – Zebra and Rebecca Zanetti provided a complimentary digital ARC of this novel via Net Galley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own. Publication date is currently set for July 25 2023.
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