First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Carrie Stuart Parks, and Thomas Nelson Fiction for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.
One can usually expect something intense when Carrie Stuart Parks is writing, spun with the uniqueness of her forensic expertise. I did not feel as much of that here with her one-off novel and wish for more of the series that pulled me in while teaching me all about forensic artists. Evelyn McTavish is suffering, having just buried her fiancé. ‘Tavish’ to many who know her around her New Mexico home, has to find some normalcy in her life. When she receives an odd phone call from the local dog pound, Tavish is pulled into the middle of a series of events that could put her in much danger. Somehow identified as the owner of an acquaintance’s dog, a man who soon appears murdered in his own home, Tavish must try to get answers while dodging those who would seek to hurt her. As the story progresses, more becomes known about the larger story and how Tavish may have stumbled into the middle of things inadvertently. All she thought she knew goes up in a puff of smoke, leaving more confusion. As the tension ramps up, no one is safe and any hope of a peaceful solution goes out the window. In a piece that left me feeling very distance and detached, I pined for the Parks from her past novels. While I may have missed out on much by not feeling connected to the story, I cannot offer a strong recommendation, but do hope readers will look to her past work for something I would highly suggest checking out soon.
Sometimes authors have hit or miss moments, much like a well-rounded readers who travel through the world of fiction and non-fiction over long periods of time. I know that I enjoy Carrie Stuart Parks and her writing, but felt as though there was something missing from this piece. Tavish is an interesting woman with an artistic background, but I never found myself able to fully connect with her. She seems to have found herself in the middle of a larger mystery and by doing so, she struggles to find which way is up. It could be that the story rushed by and I never ‘caught on’ to her as a character, but it was almost as though I was waiting for the big Tavish reveal to hook me. Others found their place throughout the story and kept me wanting to find just a little more to pull me into the piece, but I was sadly unable to latch on. The premise, from what I ascertained, was decent, though the mystery did not get to the depths I had hoped it might. I know that established authors with strong series are sometimes judged based on that as a yardstick, which is surely what I am doing here, but I cannot help myself. I needed more and while I may be in the minority, as a reader, my own opinion matters as much as the major reviewers and slew of those on Goodreads or other sites. I can hope that this was an anomaly for me and that we will return to the powerful and addictive novels before too long.
Kudos, Madam Parks, for the effort, as I know there was much that went into this piece. It was likely not my cup of tea, which surely happens. Not all readers can be enamoured all the time!
A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons