A Date To Die by Anne Laughlin is an excellent mystery/thriller, and I think Laughlin is really growing into this genre as it is the best of her books to date. The plot has enough twists and turns to keep you guessing. There is a dash of romance with it, however, the mystery and action really take precedence.
The story begins with Kay attending the scene of a murder. She finds out that the victim is her ex-husband’s sister making this case personal.
Detective Jamie Sidwell has a similar character to Kay and has about the same amount of experience. She has a similarly confident manner but, is much more of a team player. They have only worked once together, very briefly, when Kay tried to bludgeon Jamie into doing her bidding. Jamie did not agree, and although the case was solved quickly, the two detectives worked separately.
As the murder investigation continues, the Lieutenant removes Kay due to her relationship with the victim and replaces her with Jamie. Sparks fly and what happens next is spoilery!
Detective Kay Adler is a supremely confident detective. She is kick-ass and has attitude. She runs an investigation from the front. She goes her own way, makes her own decisions and bosses other policemen and women around. Her partner has to be subservient in many respects, and when he complains, she says she can find another partner if he doesn’t like it.
Kay is so well written as a character. She has obviously been married, and we learn that her husband was controlling and jealous. She eventually left him and later realized she was a lesbian. She is emotionally detached though, and most of her relationships have not lasted long.
Her character arc takes her through dealing with her ex-husband and his family, having to give up her investigation to someone she feels she is competing with and finally dealing with her feelings for Jamie.
Jamie’s character comes through slowly as the story progresses and Kay learns more about her. She appears similarly emotionally cut off. We find that she has money, although she has not told anyone about her circumstances.
Her character arc has her replacing Kay, having a lot of empathy with Kay’s circumstances and trying to deal with Kay, who is struggling with her situation and her feelings.
There are other policemen and women who are beautifully characterized. Mention must be made here of the Lieutenant, who is an ex-American Footballer and retains his weight by following a strict schedule of workouts in the gym. Whenever we see him, he is either just going, coming back or actually in the station fitness centre.
The Writing Style
The story is fast-moving, and you have little time to ponder as Laughlin pulls you along through the investigation. There are only a few moments where the pace slows, but this is about police procedure, and the brief slowdowns are there as the plot takes another twist or turn.
I really enjoyed the mystery and had no idea of how it would end.
Kay and Jamie are so similar and yet so different and I loved the way Laughlin explored the differences between them.
This is Laughlin’s best book so far, the mystery is so good, and the characters are well done. I loved it!
Excerpt from A Date To Die by Anne Laughlin
“It’s pretty bad. Deceased female is in unit 312, top floor. Looks to be in early stages of decomposition. Someone cut her throat.”
“Sounds delightful.” Kay smiled at the group as if she were standing with them at a barbecue, which she had often enough.
Officer Carey continued. “The body was found by the landlord after he got a call from the vic’s mother. Said she hadn’t been able to contact her daughter for over a day.” He pointed to a man in shirtsleeves, standing inside the tape. “That’s him.”
“Thank you, Ed,” Kay said. “Will you tell the witness we’ll be with him shortly?”
“Do we have a name for the victim?”
Carey looked at his notebook. “It’s Nora Sanderson.”
She felt her gut drop. “Oh, shit. I think I know her.”
“How?” Adam said.
She looked up at the apartment building, debating what to say.
Officer Carey shifted his weight. “Do we start guessing who she is or what?”
She turned toward him. “She’s the sister of my ex-husband, if it’s the same Nora Sanderson.” All was quiet. This was the first anyone had heard of Kay Adler having an ex-husband. The fact that she’d ever been with a man probably shocked everyone there. A few feet started to shuffle.
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781635550245
- Publisher: Bold Stroke Books Inc.
Anne Laughlin Online
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Note: I received a free review copy of A Date To Die by Anne Laughlin. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.