Cause to Save (Avery Black #5), by Blake Pierce

Eight stars

Blake Pierce has saved the best for this fifth novel, placing Avery Black in the middle of her most explosive mystery yet. As Boston reels with the news that Howard Randall has escaped from prison, Avery is still focussed on Ramirez, who sits in a coma. When a young co-ed is murdered, many wonder if this is Randall continuing what he did best, but Avery is not sure, finding it all a little too convenient. Having finally fostered a good relationship with her daughter, Avery and Rose are able to enjoy one another’s company. When news that Ramirez is awake comes from the hospital, Avery rushes there, dodging the ongoing attacks from her superiors that she cannot be on the case. Avery and Ramirez share some insights, leaving a clearer picture as to who might be behind the killing. In a macabre way, all the pieces fall into place and it turns out that Avery knows the killer well, another of her former clients when she was a defence attorney. The killings hit close to home and no one is safe, including Avery, as she tries to work the case while not tipping her hand. Two serial murderers are on the loose in Boston and no one is safe. Avery will have to summon all her courage for this case, as someone is out for a revenge that is as frigid as it is violent. Blake Pierce lays it all out in this novel, leaving series fans to pick their jaws off the floor before rushing to finish. Highly recommended for those who gave enjoyed Avery Black to date and enjoy seeing her pushed to her limits.

Blake Pierce has done well to lay the groundwork for a great series with his four previous novels, but nothing will prepare the reader for what is to come in this piece. The one man who sunk Avery’s career is on the loose, though Howard Randall has also been a father figure to her. Avery sees herself at a real crossroads with this book, trying to piece her life back together. A fallen partner/boyfriend is in the hospital from injuries sustained on the job, while a brutal serial killer hides in the shadows and another one seems keen on mocking her from afar. Avery has finally found the sweet spot for her relationship with Rose, though it will be tested throughout this piece. Wanting to catch a killer and be a good support will force Avery to make some hard decisions, ones that she may come to regret. Others surrounding Black keep the story riveting and push the narrative to new levels. Most are familiar to the series reader, allowing the reader to ply off the past banter and current connections to deepen the flavour of the overall story. The writing remains strong and held my attention as the narrative takes more twists that I could have predicted. The balance of shorter and more developed chapters kept me pushing on and not wanting to stop at any point. Blake Pierce left me shocked with how he brought this novel to a close, adding more unsettling finality on one hand and some cliffhangers on the other. The sixth novel is sure to pack a punch like no other..

Kudos, Mr. Pierce, for never letting up and making me glad to have taken the recommendation of this Avery Black series.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: