Forsaken Trust by Meredith Doench is a murder mystery, crime fiction procedural. It is book 2 in the Luce Hansen series, which I discovered only when writing this review because Forsaken Trust can be read as a stand alone book.
Forsaken Trust is set in a small town that is slowly dying as the factories that once supported the town are closing down. The resulting poverty and depression is leading many of the remaining citizens to heroin and meth addiction. In this broken town a 15 year old girl discovers two corpses while kayaking.
The discovery of the dead women connected only by their ages and identical wrist tattoos brings Agent Luce Hansen of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation on the scene where it soon becomes apparent that she is on the hunt for a serial killer targeting older women in Wallace Lake, Ohio.
Luce is joined by local detective Alison Harvey and the beautiful and smart Dr Harper Bennet the town’s medical examiner. The three woman race against the clock to find the serial killer before another woman loses her life.
Luce Hansen is a special agent with a lot of luggage, her close encounter with a serial killer in her last case and the end of her long term relationship have left her depressed and doubting herself. Through the book Luce learns to trust herself and regains her confidence and her life.
Dr Harper Bennet is a smart, strong woman that shows Luce the potential for finding love after her long term relationship ended.
Detective Alison Harvey is a sexy, woman-magnet (think Shane from the L Word) she and Harper Bennet had a short relationship and there probably isn’t a lesbian in Wallace Lake that has not fallen for her charms.
What I love about the characters in this books is that they are a full set of players, while the three main characters are lesbians (which they joke about in the book) not every character is a lesbian, there are some men and straight women too, which I think leads to richer world building.
The Writing Style
The book is really well paced and keeps you turning the page. I read the whole book in two days.
What’s not to love? This is a proper police procedural with lesbian characters that is not propped up by a romance. I’m ecstatic that this kind of book is being created, it shows how much the lesbian fiction market has grown in the last few years. This book gives lesbians (and others) a really good story that you would probably see on Law and Order, CSI or Rizzoli and Ilses without the hetro-normative characters or the need to ‘ship characters.
There are not too many cons for me. The one is the title of the book, Forsaken Trust does describe a theme in the story however it feels a little too romance sounding for me.
The only other con is one of the threads that you discover when the mystery is solved. I’m not going to give away the ending but there was one thread that I felt could have been left out and would not have made a difference to the story.
If you love crime fiction or television shows you will love this book, but do not go in expecting a romance. Readers of James Patterson, Sue Grafton and the like will enjoy this book.
Excerpt from Forsaken Trust by Meredith Doench
“Hello?” Ava called. “Do you need help?”
The body was naked—a white woman with her heavy breasts shoved into the earth of the sandbar. Dark shoulder-length hair was strewn across her face. Ava docked the kayak and climbed out, but the boat’s rocking motion left her balance unstable. When Ava took a step, her knee gave out. She fell forward, her hands breaking the fall not far from the woman’s leg.
The woman didn’t move. Slowly, Ava reached out her hand. Just a quick touch, she told herself, just to make sure it’s real. The woman’s skin looked so pale and hard. Ava’s fingertips grazed the cold calf before her. The breath seized in her throat, and she felt the heavy pulse of blood thumping in her head. A strange voice echoed in her mind and it took a minute before Ava realized it was her own: Take a deep breath, stand up, and call for help.
Ava pushed herself up to her feet and rushed back to the kayak. Her cell was strapped to the waterproof compartment on the side of the boat. As Ava’s foot sank into the sand next to the kayak, she saw it—a gray, lifeless hand floating just under the water’s surface. Ava’s eyes followed the hand to the bend of the wrist and forearm. She saw the tattoo, that wavering image dulled by the river’s water. Her eyes followed the arm to the shoulder of the submerged body below.
Ava screamed, and her heart felt like it could rocket out of her chest.
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781626397378
- Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Meredith Doench Online
Note: I received a free review copy of Forsaken Trust by Meredith Doench No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.