Title: A Thorn Among the Lilies (Detective Leah Teal series #3)
Author: Michael Hiebert
Genres: Crime | Mystery | Thriller
Length: 304 pages |3400 locations
When Leah takes her daughter Caroline to a psychic for her birthday, she is shocked by the revelations she leaves with. It turns out the psychic was right and there is a dangerous killer preying on the small town of Alvin. As the town detective, she will do everything in her power to bring the perpetrator to justice.
The book begins in 1976 with a shocking and sad event and the chapter hints that it had consequences. So, naturally, as the narrative moves on to 13 years later I kept wondering how these characters related to the previous. When I could not find any obvious connection, I started to go along with the story.
There was something about the writing that put me off. I am not sure if it was the dialogues, particular between the two 13 year olds, or the narrative bits. Maybe it was the procedural work more than anything. I don’t even get how a town that has a population of over 5 thousand people can have a police department consisting of exactly 3 people: the chief, a detective and a cop. It bothered me that Leah would go on dangerous assignments by herself, for instance.
The repercussions Leah’s talk with her son about serial killers had were, at first, cute but then it got tiresome. I was bored chasing those kids around, especially since every other sentence seemed to have a ‘reckon’ or ‘on account’.
Our main character is the detective and it appears this is the third book in a series revolving around her. I didn’t catch much character development. I know that it’s a crime novel and one should probably not expect one but I was still disappointed. I think because it didn’t feel real, none of it. Some things were particularly off, like Carrie’s boyfriend being too perfect or lines such as:
Me and Dewey watched all this from the golden grass that had long ago been painted from green to gold by the winter sun. – Does not seem like something a 13 year old would think, to me.
(…) sounded great to Leah because deep inside, she wanted him to sit and be interviewed wearing that red towel all night – After making up Leah as such a modest woman who still has not gotten over her husband’s death, and having she just showed distaste for the character in question that, just seemed weird, creepy and completely out of character.
“What’s his name?” Her mother hesitated, then said, “Dan. Dan Truitt.” Detective Dan Truitt. Sounds like a made-up name for a crime novel.” – Pet peeve of mine, really dislike it when authors do that.
On top of all that, I got who the killer was almost straight away because of a few clues, or at least I was strongly convinced about it. There were far too many red herrings, on account (see what I did there? :P) of all the ‘investigation’ the kids did plus Leah’s, but it all still seemed to point in that direction. On more than one occasion I knew what was happening before the characters did and that is never a good feeling, in my experience.
The ARC I read needs to be re-edited. Sometimes the voice changed and there was no separation. Also, there was this one character in the beginning, the uncle, who one minute was named Henry and the next he was Hank and then he was back to Henry.
All in all, it was an ok book. I had just expected more.
Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Read from Feb 12th to Feb 18th, 2016