Note to self: Never go to school reunions…
😀 😀 😀 😀 😀
Detective Shane Reese bumps into an old school friend who invites him to a class reunion to take place in a new luxury spa hotel the friend is about to open. His partner, Detective Lauren Riley, is invited along too. But this class has a shared tragedy in their past – just as they graduated high school, one of their classmates, Jessica, was brutally murdered. All the classmates were suspects and the case was never solved, so they’ve all lived with that shadow over them. So when one of them, Erika, announces on the first evening of the reunion that she knows who killed Jessica and is going to reveal it on her true crime podcast, it’s not too surprising when she too is killed. Meantime, a blizzard has blown up and the hotel is snowed in. So the local police are relying on Riley to hold things together till they can get through…
Although this is the sixth in a series, it’s my first Redmond, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s a traditional style mystery with the clear intent of mirroring the “closed circle” mysteries that were a standard of the vintage crime writers, but in a modern setting complete with modern technology and policing methods. Not in any way a cosy, but it’s also nowhere near as dark or graphic as a lot of modern crime fiction.
I liked Riley as a character. She bears some scars from physical injuries she has acquired throughout her career, but she is a well-adjusted, stable person who seems happily angst-free. There is clearly a past between her and her partner, Shane Reese, that goes beyond a strictly working relationship. The two live together in the sense of sharing a house, although as the book begins they are not romantic partners. It’s fairly obvious, though, that their relationship may be heading in that direction. In this book Riley has to take the lead because Reese, being one of the classmates, is himself a suspect. I don’t know if they work more closely as equal partners in earlier books in the series.
The plot is interesting and there’s a good variety of suspects – a failing actor, a drunken creep, a jealous husband, the jealousy-inducing wife, a computer games millionaire, the spa owner, and of course Detective Reese. The idea of a group of people being snowed in may not be the most original in the world, but it’s effective, and Redmond handles it well and credibly. The reason the original investigators failed to find the murderer was that all of the suspects had the means and the opportunity to kill Jessica, but no one seemed to have a strong enough motive. This will be the problem for Riley, too, since clearly the motive for Erika’s death is her threat to reveal who killed Jessica. I’m not convinced it could really be described as fair play, but the pacing is very good so that it kept my attention and I didn’t mind so much that I hadn’t had access to the vital piece of information that finally told Riley who the murderer was.
Well written, I felt this was well above average in the current field of traditional police procedurals. A good mystery, nothing too gruesome, zero swearing and some likeable lead characters – my kind of book! I’ll be backtracking to catch up with the earlier books in the series and am looking forward to seeing what Redmond produces in the future.
NB This book was provided for review by the publisher, Severn House, via NetGalley.