A brilliant, highly engrossing police procedural…
Veteran police detective Mike Hegan investigates a murder-suicide as he struggles to come to terms with a personal loss in Panettiere’s latest well-crafted police procedural. When a champion thoroughbred racehorse collapses and dies in mysterious circumstances after finishing last in a race while his trainer goes missing and is later found dead miles away on a suburban beach, Detective Mike Hegan knows a crucial link is missing in the case. While the police rule the case as a murder-suicide, Hegan sets on to search for the truth on his own and finds himself entangled in a deadly game of deception and revenge. The pace of the book is smooth and the prose elegant, but it’s characterization at which Panettiere truly excels. All the characters, including major and ancillary, are sketched with utmost precision and come alive in the reader’s mind. Hegan’s police career is at a low ebb following his injury in a shooting incident and his ongoing discord with his brother-in-law, and his unhappy personal life (with the loss of his fiancé) makes it even harder to bear. Lucy doesn’t get much space in the book but succeeds in making her place in the reader’s heart, whereas Hegan’s friends make for an endearing lot. The main antagonist (Johnny Faraci) comes out as a formidable figure, while the other villains are equally menacing. Panettiere explores complex themes of domestic violence, anger issues and includes plenty of law enforcement particulars with details of police bureaucracy and mafia politics to please crime lovers. Full of both subtle twists and swift revelations, the narrative is fueled with a hefty dose of tension as the brutal killings continue and separate narrative threads come together as the story advances. Although the murderers are known to the reader right from the beginning, the tension keeps on building with the progression of the story as the motives of the killers remain unknown. It’s only at the end that the reader is able to piece together the loose ends and learns of the actual solution. This is a slow-building, complex, and elaborate mystery, but Panettiere keeps a relentless grip on his readers as new motives arise throughout the story. With its top-notch characterization, elaborate backstory, and a hefty dose of relentless tension, this rich, engrossing novel will delight lovers of slow-building, intricate mysteries. Highly recommended to fans of Elizabeth George, Peter Robertson!
A Woman to Blame
by Vincent Panettiere
Pub date October 14, 2019
Price $18.99 (USD)