What Hurts the Most by Willow Rose

30th October 2021.

This is the first of the Mary Mills mysteries, set in Cocoa Beach, Florida.

What a life she’s had – traumatised by the death of her mother, separated from her husband, sacked from her high-powered job as a reporter, and she’s on a sadistic killer’s hit list. Could things get any worse? Yes, her brother’s been arrested for murder.

It’s a complex story that features a close knit community of friends in a coastal town. After her mother was killed, Mary left Cocoa Beach. Now, thirty years later, she’s back to rescue her brother, refusing to believe he killed anyone.

It’s not all plain sailing as returning evokes plenty of memories. Then there’s her husband, Joey, back running his surf school where it all began. It takes Mary time to find her feet and make any headway, even when she discovers her brother was having an affair with the wife of a general from the nearby military base.

Then there’s a killer, running around stabbing people in the neck with scissors – people who were friends in a particular group at school. The race is on to save the remaining people in the group.

The story moves back and forth in time and the episodes seem to have little in common until the author draws them all together as the climax hurtles into view. At times it’s breath taking, at times humorous, and never less than emotionally involving as the story unfolds.

The author doesn’t pull any punches and handles the various strands and characters with confidence and conviction, painting a credible and exciting murder mystery with some devilish twists that could leave you gasping in disbelief.

At first, I thought there was too much going on, too much to absorb and so many characters to keep in my head. But as the story unfolded, I was drawn in until I couldn’t stop turning the pages. This is a memorable novel for all the right reasons.

I’ve got the next Mary Mills on my Kindle, ready to read.


Am I pretty?

Imagine being asked that question standing face to face with a killer. What would you answer?

While her life is going from bad to worse, journalist Mary Mills receives a disturbing phone call from her father. Her brother was arrested, charged with murder.

Mary decides to go back to her hometown of Cocoa Beach, Florida, which she left twenty years back and has never visited since.

Working with her old friends in from High School, she tracks down the most disturbing and surprising killer this town has ever faced before a shocking conclusion turns everything upside down for them.

Determined to solve the murder and to have her brother acquitted, Mary is forced to face demons from her past she never thought she would have to again.

What Hurts the Most by Willow Rose

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