Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Her Darkest Secret by Jessica R Patch
on June 28, 2022
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Amazon, Audible, Audiobook, Barnes & Noble, Apple
The sight of a goose feather at a murder scene modeled after a children’s poem is enough to make FBI special agent Fiona Kelly's blood turn to ice. Almost two decades ago, a feather was left with her sister's body—and with every subsequent victim of the Nursery Rhyme Killer. Now he's back. Only this time, his latest gruesome murder is a message to the only one who ever got away: Fiona.
Finding “Rhyme” is an obsession that's fueled Fiona's career—and destroyed her marriage to fellow FBI agent Asa Kodiak. Now Fiona and Asa have to put their past tensions aside and work together one last time. But Rhyme is watching, and catching this killer may force Fiona to reveal her biggest, darkest secret…the one only he knows.
An FBI profiler matches wits with a serial killer from her past and comes to terms with a failed romance when she is forced to partner with her ex-husband. New to me author and a thrilling set up were a solid combo for grabbing my interest.
Her Darkest Secrets caught my attention as soon as I read the blurb and saw that atmospheric cover. I knew this had strong inspirational elements (Asa becomes a Christian and his new lifestyle and faith is a feature), gritty thriller tracking a serial killer who’s fixated on Fiona, and a second chance romance, so I thought I knew what I was getting. I finished reading, both appreciating all those elements, but also having mixed feelings along the way.
The case was satisfying, steady, tension-wrought police work sifting through evidence, working the behavior aspects, and a motivated team together. There are moments when Rhyme, the serial killer, is narrating and his warped plans don’t give away who it is, while lacing the plot with more suspense. Fiona thought she was getting inside Rhyme’s head to track him down, but the reverse was true and she was the target. And, wow, Violet really has that ability and I was particularly intrigued when she did her part on the case.
However, I admit for all this had going for it, I struggled with the writing style which made me have to work to get into this story because of the way the details were laid out, I think. But, my biggest drawback was the romance element. I wish it wasn’t there or that Asa didn’t have a nice girlfriend. He’d moved on and had a healthy life and relationship that were working for him until Fiona is back. She, on the other hand, still wasn’t in a healthy place years later, still fixated on her involvement with the killer, and her fixation and secrets are a danger to the FBI team and herself. She does start confronting her issues, but she was definitely too close to the case and maybe should have been forced to act as consultant rather than work the case so directly. I can’t deny her tight connection with the killer was part of what made the last half so riveting and others might not be bothered by the romance plot.
So, it ended strongly and I did eventually get used to the writing and get into the book. I think Violet’s book will be even better, the chilling way she could slip into a killer’s head. For those who appreciate a strong inspirational element, a gritty suspense, and a solid relationship-driven combo of elements, this would be a good bet.
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