Cause to Dread (Avery Black #6), by Blake Pierce

Eight stars

The Avery Black series continues to gain momentum in Blake Pierce’s six novel. With the dust still settling in the aftermath of the devastation of the previous piece, Avery has become a recluse, living in a rural cabin and staying clear of anything police related. Her once strong relationship with Rose has been strained again because of a murder spree and with Ramirez gone, there is little direction. When a man is discovered dead in his closet, his death is strongly suspicious. Covered in venomous spider bites, the victim appears to have heightened levels of natural chemicals inside him as well. Further digging leads to some interesting clues, especially when some close to the victim reveal that he was deathly afraid of arachnids. Avery is intrigued and agrees to help with this case alone, missing a sense of importance. Partnered up with someone new, Avery and Officer Courtney Kellaway begin scouring for clues of a killer with an odd penchant for fear. When other victims emerge with what seems like a loose connection to their original crime scene, Avery works her magic and ties them all together. However, an urgent call about Rose has Avery rushing from the scene. With Rose in the hospital, Avery will have to show her mothering abilities and come to terms with the reasons behind Rose’s being there. A killer on the loose and Howard Randal likely alive and on the lam leaves Avery looking over her shoulder at every turn as she seeks answers in a life that has lost its meaning. Pierce has helped the story and characters rebound well in this sixth novel, though there is a feeling of finality in the writing. Recommended to those who have loved the Avery Black series, as well as readers who love a quick mystery.

Blake Pierce has done well crafting an exciting series in a handful of novels. Avery Black and those around her have grown so much, with strong story arcs connecting the series as a whole and leaving the reader wanting more. The growth of Avery can be seen by those series fans who have paid attention throughout. Many will have seen the slow start to the Avery-Rose relationship, which only got strong to shatter apart when a string of murders drives a wedge between them. Avery is also forced to come to terms with the loss of Ramirez, who has been a part of her life for the previous novels. Avery Black is fiercely independent, though she needs people more than ever at this part in her life. With a new killer targeting unknowing victims and Howard Randall still on the loose, Avery can only wonder what will come of it all. Others in the series have grown incrementally in the background and allowed the reader to see some development. Still, there is so much that could be done, should Pierce ever wish to come back to further this series. With a strong story, Pierce entices his series fans to return after unleashing so much trouble in the past book. Always ready to offer a new and intriguing murder mystery, Blake Pierce has continued to impress me through my series binge. I can only hope others will take on the challenge and find just as much worth reading about and pass the recommendation along.

Kudos, Mr. Pierce, as you continue to dazzle with this series. I may have to check out some of your others to see if they are just as addictive. That said, I have to wonder if you’ve thought of some cross-over novels with your other female protagonists.

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