Gone Daddy Gone by Cheryl Bradshaw

23rd June 2020.  5 stars.

I fairly zipped through this novel, which either means it’s a quick read or I couldn’t put it down. It’s probably both as once again things get personal for Sloane Monroe. This time it’s Shelby, daughter of her boyfriend, Cade, who happens to be Chief of Police in Jackson, Wyoming.

When Shelby’s attacked and killed, the effect on Cade and Sloane is devastating. Naturally, there’s worse to come as she begins to dig below the surface to discover that Shelby was a high class escort, which takes our private eye in a new direction.

She’s forced to work with old adversary, Coop, who’s also a Chief of Police, and a former lover, to solve the murder. Then, as the attacks continue Sloane realises just how personal the killings have become.

As I’ve come to expect from Cheryl Bradshaw, it’s an emotional roller coaster of a ride with Sloane’s customary cool shaken to the core. Even with the help of those she loves, she’s struggling to hold it together at times, forced to reveal her vulnerabilities like never before.

And what a climax to an absorbing story that twists and turns with each attack, until the final revelation that means life will never be the same again for Sloane.

This series simply gets better with each book. While you can read this as a standalone, you’ll miss out so much unless you start at the beginning and follow Sloane’s difficult and achingly emotional journey through some brilliant and original investigations.

Highly recommended.

Description

On an early winter morning, college student Shelby McCoy walks the quiet, snowy path back home. A tree branch snaps in the distance. Then another. A man is there with her, following close behind, whispering her name. She looks back, sees him gaining on her, and runs. Who is this man, and why is he carrying a gun?

If you love a great mystery with a surprising twist, you’ll enjoy Gone Daddy Gone, a New York Times bestselling series.

Gone Daddy Gone by Cheryl Bradshaw

Bed of Bones by Cheryl Bradshaw

30th March 2020.   5 stars.

Anyone who follows my reviews will know I’m a big fan of this series, featuring private detective Sloane Monroe. Bed of Bones is the fifth book in the series and has Sloane working with other enforcement agencies to track down a serial killer.

It starts with a nail bomb in a cinema where a film is about to be shown, fictionalising a tragic incident in the town’s past. The woman who made the film is missing. Soon other women connected with the film go missing and the race is on to find out why before he strikes again.

Like all good protagonists, Sloane has her own personal issues to deal with, namely Giovanni, her on off boyfriend who was injured in the blast. This puts her in the thick of things once more as she tries to work out the connections with the past to track down the present day killer. Then there’s Cade, a sheriff with more than a passing interest in Sloane’s well-being to add further complications.

It all adds up to a smooth and exciting read, filled with sharp observations, wry humour and a determined detective who’s as smart as she is sassy. Sloane’s direct approach often puts her at risk as she slowly unpicks the mystery, leading to a thrilling and tragic climax.

While this story, like all the others, can be read as a standalone, you’ll enjoy it far more if you read the series from the beginning, starting with Black Diamond Death. (Check out my review of this story here.) Sloane has her problems, as you’ll discover, but this only deepens the character and adds another interesting layer to the backstory.

If like me, you prefer private detective stories to police procedurals, I would recommend this book and the series.

Description

Sometimes even the deepest, darkest secrets find their way to the surface.

Thirteen-year-old Willie Compton and his younger brother Leonard stumble upon a mine shaft while hiking the hills of Park City, Utah. A Slinky Leonard’s been flipping back and forth between his hands slips through his fingers. Leonard bolts forward and reaches out to grab it, but he slips, then he falls into the shaft.

Bed of Bones tells a tale of murder, shining a big, bold light on Park City’s tragic past. A past that’s about to revisit the present.

Bed of Bones by Cheryl Bradshaw

Stranger in Town by Cheryl Bradshaw

12th January 2020.  5 stars

I’m a fan of this series featuring Sloane Monroe, a feisty, no-nonsense private eye with a heart of gold and a sly sense of humour. With each novel I learn more about her, her past and what drives her.

This is the joy of a series. Pretty much like in real life, you get to know the characters a bit better the more time you spend with them. So it goes without saying that it’s worth starting with the first in the series, Black Diamond Death. (You can check out my review here).

In this fourth outing, Sloane’s hired by the parent of a missing girl, abducted a couple of years earlier. There are links to second missing girl, but no clues to where they are, what’s happened or if they’re alive. Determined to get to the truth, Sloane sets out to investigate. Almost immediately, she clashes with the law, particularly Cade McCoy, who resents her intrusion into police work.

But Sloane’s not easily put off and starts to dig, uncovering small leads. The pace picks up. She and McCoy race to find the girls before the FBI takes over the investigation.

The direct, no nonsense style makes for a brisk pace with just the right amount of detail, backstory and humour. All the characters are well-drawn and engaging, the investigations realistic with plenty of challenges to test Sloane. Her personal life is also shifting and changing, posing more issues to resolve, leaving plenty to look forward to in the next story.

I would recommend this novel and series to anyone who wants entertaining crime fiction at the cosier end of the scale, particularly if you’re a fan of Sue Grafton or Sara Patesky.

Description

A frantic mother runs up and down the aisles of Maybelle’s Market, desperately searching for her missing daughter.

But she’s far too late. Six-year-old Olivia is already gone, already in the arms of a stranger. Will private investigator Sloane Monroe find her before it’s too late?

Stranger in Town