Why This Book
Crooked Lane has become one of my favorite publishers. They email me from time to time to suggest books I might want to read and send me copies of upcoming releases. I will forgive them for declining me on the last three I requested on NetGalley (really???), but that’s another story! They asked if I would read this book, which is #2 in the series, so I had to ask for #1 first and read it. I finished that last month, so it was time to read Lucy Kerr‘s second in the series, No One Can Know. I’ve given it 3.5 stars, and I’d recommend the series to mystery readers looking for something between a cozy and a thriller/suspense novel.
Plot, Characters & Setting
Frankie has agreed to remain in her hometown, Stillwater, Illinois, to help her sister re-build the family business and care for her premature baby. Frankie left to work in Chicago after some family issues and a failed engagement, then rarely returned during the ten year absence. As an ER nurse, she sees it all, then feels compelled to solve whatever mystery has landed at her feet. In this second book, a male car accident victim seeks help, but Frankie knows he’s lying. When 8-month pregnant woman is also brought in after a car accident, she knows it’s connected, but can’t do anything until she’s saved the woman’s life. Unfortunately, only the baby makes it, and then the male victim disappears. Add in some trouble with the hospital administration, a political candidate and an old fiancee-turned-detective, Frankie’s smack in the middle of chaos. As she tries to solve the mystery, she steps in danger and opens her family up to potential risk. When the baby is kidnapped, Frankie pushes everyone to the brink, but ultimately, she leads them to the culprit.
Approach & Style
I read an advanced physical copy of this 325 page book. It’s broken into 31 chapters, each about ten pages long, and told in first person POV. The perspective remains on Frankie the entire novel, showing her thoughts and opinions on each event she encounters. It took about 4 hours over the course of 2 days – a relatively quick read with minimal hospital & medical terminology, just enough to keep it feeling real.
I really enjoyed the first book in the series. All those aspects carried into this second book, but the plot was a bit weaker than the first. When the crime centers around a car accident, politics and baby theft, you expect something quite complex. If you read a lot of these types of novels, you’ll know the culprit pretty early on, as well as guess why it happened. I would have liked a few more red herrings, a couple of other suspects and some additional side-stories that wove in and out of the main story, creating some interesting dilemmas and confusion. It was just too straightforward for me to give it a 4 or 5 star rating. It was a good book, just needed a bit more darkness, depth and puzzles to solve.
That said, I’m a big fan of the author for her writing style, character creation, and approach to balancing medical terminology and creating a truly realistic setting. She builds a world that is fast-paced, rough and keeps your attention. There’s a lot going on in the ER and you bounce back and forth between a few cases, giving readers time for suspense, questions and connections to the story. When Frankie’s out of the ER, you feel the draw with the former fiancee, the love with her family, and the concern about coming home forever. I look forward to each interaction she has because you learn more about who she is and what she’s made of. There’s no filler in these books — the substance is pretty strong, which is why I will continue to read them. I just want to push the author on a bit more complexity to help break the series out of ‘just another decent mystery series.’ I think there’s potential for this to be quite big if some focus is put on long-term development options.
I will keep reading the series. I like the main character, the setting and the author’s writing style. The small concerns with the overall tone and citizens being too close to the police work are not enough to bother me. I mention them only because it is something you just need to accept. The characters and family dynamics are very strong, and I look forward to seeing what happens in the next release.
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.
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