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 Her Final Breath by bestselling author Carolyn Arnold to review. To find out more about the author you may visit her website.
Here is the book blurb.
Faint sunlight dapples the two figures lying on the ground. The mother cradles her daughter close to her side, a stuffed toy elephant next to them. Leaves from the tall trees fall onto their faces, but neither moves to brush them off.
When a dog walker in a local Virginia park finds the bodies of a mother and daughter, Detective Amanda Steele is first on the scene. Her own daughter has a toy just like the girl’s elephant and seeing the child like this is her worst nightmare come true. Heartbroken, she vows to get justice.
They quickly get an ID—Jill Archer and six-year-old Charlotte were reported missing last week, but interviewing Jill’s husband, Roy, Amanda’s gut tells her he is hiding something. When the autopsy reveals a terrible pattern of bruises, she’s certain that a domestic argument escalated out of control, and tiny Charlotte got caught in the crossfire. But just as Amanda is about to arrest Roy, another grave is found, containing another mother and daughter.
Desperate for a lead, she goes to every place the women could have been targeted, and learns from a concerned ER nurse about Leanne Reilly and her young daughter, Gracie, who haven’t been heard from in a week. Amanda hopes that Leanne has simply left her deadbeat husband, but she’s gripped by the fear that they are the killer’s latest victims. Now every second counts for Amanda to find the family and stop a little girl’s nightmare before it ends in tragedy…
This is the seventh title in the Detective Amanda Steele series and here are the links to my reviews of the previous titles.
The Little Grave
The Silent Witness
Black Orchid Girls
Her Frozen Cry
Last Seen Alive
The prologue gives us a brief introduction to Leanne and her young daughter Gracie who have been abducted and held against their will.
Meanwhile the main story begins with the discovery of a grave in the park, revealing a woman, child and stuffed toy elephant. Detective Amanda Steele and partner Trent investigate. The deceased are identified as Jill Archer and daughter Charlotte, immediately leaving the reader to draw your own conclusions between the Archers and Leanne & Gracie.
Amanda and Trent get a bad feeling when they interview Jill’s husband Roy, a fellow police officer. At best he appears guilty of abuse, but did he murder his family?
And why is Sergeant Graves being so much more helpful on this case than usual?
Interviews and warrants abound. And I love how the clues are gradually revealed to us.
As always, we follow a sub-plot of Amanda’s home life with adopted daughter Zoe, who is a similar age to the children in this case. Plus there is a focus on Trent’s reaction to the abuse, in the knowledge that he is unable to help someone close in a similar situation.
Every so often we get another chapter with Leanne and Gracie. And then another grave is discovered in the park, with striking similarities to the Archers. Is there a serial killer?
When I reached the point where Amanda and Trent hear about Leanne and Gracie going missing, I’m devouring the pages. Can they piece everything together and find them in time?
Her Final Breath is available on Amazon. A thrilling page turner indeed.
Includes some continuity references to earlier stories for those who enjoy reading the whole series but works excellently as a stand-alone read too.
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
Girl on the Run
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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