Killing Secrets by Dianne Emley
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Source: Blog Tour
Description: When she gets the call, Nan Vining responds as a mother first and a detective second. Her daughter, Emily, has made a gruesome discovery in a secluded section of a Pasadena park: a pretty popular young teacher from Emily's high school and a bright yet troubled transfer student - both dead and bloody in a copse of trees. But the crime scene isn't the only thing that seems off to Detective Vining. There's also the cocky classmate who was with Emily in the park - the boyfriend she never knew about. What else doesn't she know about her daughter?
As she attempts to channel both her maternal and investigative instincts into one single point of focus, Vining's superiors at the Pasadena Police Department are moving at lightning speed. Before the evidence has even been processed, the case is closed as a clear-cut murder/suicide: a disturbed teenager murders his teacher, then takes his own life. Vining doesn't buy it. Now she's chasing dangerous, powerful people with secrets they would kill for - and taking them down means risking her own flesh and blood.
Why I Picked This Book: The blurb caught my attention. I've been wanting to read more thriller type books lately.
My Impression: I believe this is the fifth book in the Nan Vining series and while there are a number of hints about things that happened in previous books I didn't feel like not reading the previous books kept me from enjoying the story or understanding what was going on. This book begins with a bang as Emily and her boyfriend stumble over two bodies and Nan is immediately drawn in - first as a mother to comfort her daughter and second as a detective when she realizes something is seriously wrong with this investigation.
There was a lot I liked about this book. Nan is smart and quick on her feet but not always right and doesn't automatically know everything. Her relationship with her daughter is great at times and rocky at other times which felt very natural given Emily's age and their past history. The pacing was good. It definitely hooked me and kept me turning pages wanting to know what would happen next and how everything would turn out. The character development was very good - especially considering the genre. My heart broke for Jared's mother and for Nan as she struggled to protect her daughter. There were times I wanted to reach into the book and tell Nan to loosen up but at the same time it was easy to understand why she was so tense. I enjoyed it to the end and loved seeing everything unravel.
My main problem was there was a LOT going on and I could have dealt with one or two subplot or troubled relationship less. There's police corruption, regular teenager angst, not so regular teenager crime, domestic violence, old conspiracies, new conspiracies, a somewhat overly enthusiastic stepmother, an aggressive lawyer stepfather, and a few other things. It wasn't that it was difficult to keep up but more that I personally prefer my stories a little simpler.
Overall, this is a well paced mystery with interesting and realistic characters.
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Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: I would. I'd like to go back and read some of the earlier books in the series.
Would I Recommend this Book?: If you like a mystery with a little grit then I think you'd enjoy this.