Disclosure. This post is a review of an ebook I was sent for free. All opinions are my own.
I have received a free e-copy of the book Black Orchid Girls by bestselling author Carolyn Arnold to review. To find out more about the author you may visit her website.
Here is the book blurb.
The first rays of sun filter through the tall trees, casting a faint light on the girl lying at the water’s edge. Her tears have frozen on her pale face, a black orchid rests against her cold white skin.
When hikers find the body of a beautiful young girl on the banks of the Potomac River, Detective Amanda Steele is shaken and confused. What is the significance of the delicate flower resting on the girl’s torso? A sign of affection, or a twisted killer’s calling card?
The girl is Chloe Somner, a local nineteen-year-old ecology student well-known to the park rangers and loved by all her classmates. Searching Chloe’s home, Amanda can’t work out who could have tempted her to the water in the early hours of the morning, but a long night hunting through cold cases gives her a possible lead: twenty years ago another local girl was murdered, a red rose left on her body. But why would this killer strike again now?
Focused on the past, the last thing Amanda expects is the news that Chloe’s roommate has been found dead, another black orchid left. Terrified that more innocent victims will follow, can Amanda uncover the significance of the flowers and stop this cold-hearted killer before he returns for the next orchid girl…?
The story begins with a murder of a young girl in the park, left naked by the Potomac river with a black orchid on her chest. Who is the victim and could the flower signify a serial killer?
We learn that a black orchid can symbolise bad luck, death, black magic, strength, virility, sexual desires or success. Does one of these present a message?
The park rangers recognise her as a regular vistitor but don’t know her name. Soon she is identified as 19 year old Chloe Somner, a student at Geoffrey Michaels University.
Detective Amanda Steele and partner Trent try to unravel the mystery, interviewing Chloe’s classmates and friends. A number of potential suspects are considered, and they also review a 20 year old cold case, where another murdered girl was left with a red rose. Could there be a link?
But then there is a second murder, this time it is one of Chloe’s housemates Jayne and again she has been left naked with a black orchid. Can they identify the killer before there are more deaths?
Meanwhile a sub-story runs through the book based on Amanda’s personal life, featuring 6 year old Zoe whom Amanda is fostering and hoping to adopt. This links it to the previous title in the series when Zoe’s parents were murdered, but this book works perfectly as a stand-alone read too.
Black Orchid Girls is available on Amazon. A brilliant book with plenty of twists and turns. Highly recommended. Although I have loved all the titles I have read by Carolyn Arnold, I think the Amanda Steele series are my favourites, possibly because it is the only series I have read from the start. And this one certainly lived up to my expectation.
About the Detective Amanda Steele Series
Gritty. Raw. Unapologetic.
Immersive crime fiction for fans who love their mysteries set in a small town and hard-boiled to perfection. From the murder scene to the morgue, interrogation of suspects and following down leads, you’ll feel like you’re part of the investigation. Realistic and complex characters, accurate police procedures and forensics paired with tight, serious writing make these books read more like true crime than fiction. Meet Homicide Detective Amanda Steele with the Prince William County Police Department in Woodbridge, Virginia. She’s smart, motivated, and real. Her tragic past has her claiming to be no one’s mentor, but she’s more hero than she thinks.
Here are the links to my reviews of other books by Carolyn Arnold.
The Secret of the Lost Pharaoh
On the Count of Three
Shades of Justice
Exercise is Murder
The Legend of Gasparilla and his Treasure
What We Bury
One More Kill
About the author
Carolyn Arnold was born in a small Canadian town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower. As an international bestselling and award-winning author, she has several continuing fiction series, including her popular Detective Madison Knight series. She offers readers nearly three dozen published books in genres ranging from crime thrillers and hard-boiled mysteries to cozy mysteries and action adventures. She currently lives north of London, Ontario, with her husband and two beagles.
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