My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Who Killed Vivien Morse? is the 4th book in the ‘DCI Peter Hatheral Mystery’ series written by Diana J. Febry. I enjoyed the book a lot, but I’m kicking myself now for breaking one of my normally cardinal rules — Don’t read a series out of order! Truthfully, you can read this as a standalone novel; I just prefer to read them in order, and I don’t know what possessed me not to do it here. That said, I can confidently say I will go back and pick up the others later this year, so I’m current and caught up on author Febry’s clever and fun series before a new one (hopefully) comes out.
Written in third-person POV, our perspective shifts from not only the main detectives on the case but to the criminal and a few other people involved in the case; it’s done by chapter, so you won’t be confused at all. A police-procedural of sorts, we follow Hatheral and his team while they try to find who killed a young social worker in a small English town. While I wouldn’t exactly call this a cozy, it’s within such a range but also has a nice foray into a bit darker and more visceral (all in a good way). I liked the puns and balance between light and heavy; it clearly shows the author’s vast range.
As for plot… we’ve got a prison escape, a missing fortune, a young girl who was run down by a car, a mysterious social worker’s client visits, an odd family hiding secrets, and a stranger who is snooping in people’s cottage windows. What could they all have to do with one another? At first, I thought I’d figured it out, but by 2/3 of the way, I was thrown for a nice loop and rethought my guesswork. The characters are vivid. Some are flighty, a few are mean, and another group are purposefully misleading. It keeps you on your toes as a reader trying to decide what they know that we don’t know. I like these kinds of tales because we can play detective or sit back and watch it unfold ourselves. I did a little of both!
Febry’s first few chapters are extremely well-written. I’m only focusing on those because that’s what often makes or a breaks a book for me. It’s not necessarily about whether the plot is good, but how well the author paints the picture for a reader. It flowed quite well, and I found myself immediately immersed in the detective’s life, the victim’s tragedy, and the various clues being dropped about. I connected with the writing style as a fellow author and felt we had a similarity in sentence structure and flow… hence why I probably found this such an easy read. Kudos to the author for nailing the first few chapters, so that readers know right away they’ve found a solid one!
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For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are four books: Academic Curveball, Broken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, and Mistaken Identity Crisis. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where 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. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.