Murders At The Lille Mansion by Hope Milam

Murders At The Lille Mansion by Hope Milam is a crime thriller with occult tendencies featuring Deputy Shannon Connolly and her partner, Deputy Marcus Knox. They live in the small and quiet community of Gilbert County and Professor Cassandra Hebert from the University of New Orleans, a specialist in folklore and literature.

Connolly and Knox are members of the local Sherriff’s Police Department from Gilbert County and they are used to handling cases that are usually solved in a day like burglary, occasional accidents, suicides or single homicides.

All this changes on this day when they get alerted by the police dispatchers that a strange boat captain has caught something out of the ordinary and wants to share it with them. Their small Bayou community life is shaken to the core, as day by day new leads appear and everything seems related to this case. To make matters worse, there is also a multiple murder case around the old and apparently haunted Lille Mansion property.

Professor Herbert lends her expertise to the Sheriff’s department, her interest in occult folklore and literature could prove relevant.

As the book progresses the questions mount – are they hunting one killer or is something more sinister going on? How is the Lille Mansion propriety related to the murders? Who can the trio trust, as many people from the small community seem involved in the case? And, will Shannon and Cassandra’s blooming romance overcome the exhaustion and fear for their lives?

The Characters

Deputy Shannon Connolly is a former Naval Aviator, who was grounded and returned to the Gilbert County Police Department to follow into her father’s steps. She is an open lesbian with few good friends.

She and her partner, Marcus Knox, are handling the town patrol and are really bored with small burglaries or suicides.

Their life is about to change with one call at the dispatch from a boat captain who has discovered something they must see.

And Shannon’s life changes even more with the arrival of Professor Cassandra Hebert.

She feels a strong attraction towards Cassandra and she fears that after the case is closed and Cassandra’s interest for the Lille Mansion fades, she may get her heart broken. So she does her best to resist the attraction and stay focused on the case.

Cassandra Hebert teaches at the University of New Orleans and her interest for occult folklore comes from being born and raised in New Orleans, around many folklore and superstitious tales. She is interested in writing a book about Lille Mansion and stumbles into a situation where she is helping the cops solve a series of murders.

She has always loved women and slowly discovers Shannon. But will she make a compromise to move in the small community and leave the big city life for the new relationship in her life?

There are many side characters in the community and I found them diverse and well written.

The Writing Style

The plot is thick and thorough with many characters involved in the killer hunt. It is a spiderweb of secrets, lies and betrayals that encapsulate the truth.

The Pro’s

I loved how the connection between the characters was created and how the case was structured. The hunt for the killer was fun and , how the clues appeared and how the lies come to light.

The Con’s

I would have loved to have more passion in the main characters’ life.

The crimes were very descriptive and I would have expected more sensuality between Cassandra and Shannon and a bit of a deeper closeness between their souls that would have got them though the ugliness of the killer’s or rather the lack of his soul.

The Conclusion

It was a very well build crime thriller, the case was beautifully structured and the killer hunt kept me to the edge of my sleep. Loved the bouquet of characters surrounding the two main ones and how they were all submitted to the storyline between secrets and lies. I, also, enjoyed the attention to the details of the occult mystery around the Lille Mansion.

It is a thrill for crime thriller lovers. I can’t wait for more to come from Milam Hope.

Excerpts from Murders At The Lille Mansion by Hope Milam

The man’s breath was a lethal mix of mustard gas and dead roses. She wondered how it was possible that he still had teeth.

“Captain Alfred Housman”

“Think it could be medical waste?”
“No. Not here. And it didn’t look rough like it was a boating accident.

It’s too clean, meaning neat. It’s not surgically precise, but it was done on purpose and by someone else. Looks like a serrated blade was used. I’m guessing a power saw since not many people would do something like this with a knife. Besides, the angle is too precise.

All five nail beds are intact though damaged. I believe they were removed against our victim’s wishes and prior to the time of death.

“That’s a question I can’t answer. But I believe our victim was cut into pieces for more than just disposal. This is a lot like having someone quartered.”

“Well the Lille Mansion is infamous in local legends and folklore. It’s supposedly very haunted, though like any other haunting it’s never been proven. But it is well documented that a lot of nasty events took place there over the course of the plantation’s history.”

Patience and Charlotte were sisters. They could have been twins had they had the same mother.
“Oh really? Shannon was not terribly surprised . It was local legend that the spirits of murdered slaves haunted the Mansion’s grounds. “Really. What we know is that Patience was born a slave. She was made to work as a house slave so she was slightly better off than the ones who worked outside, but by a very narrow margin. We know that at least Charlotte knew they were sisters. And we know that Patience was murdered, or rather died suspiciously and suddenly at the Mansion not long after a party.”

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