Review of ‘The blood runs cold’ by Catherine Maiorisi.

4.50 Stars. I enjoyed the first book in the Chiara Corelli Mystery series but I liked this one much more. This is a tried and true mystery book. It had everything I like in a good mystery and I could not set the book down. While I always suggest reading books in order, I do think you could start here if you really wanted. There are a few small references to book one and some characters you would be missing a little background on, but the overall mystery is all contained in this one book.

This story is about a lead detective Corelli and her partner detective Parker. Corelli went undercover to take down dirty cops so she is still shunned by many in the department. Parker, due to her family’s political connections is a bit of an outcast herself. The two teamed up out of necessity to watch each other’s backs, but they make a really good team anyway. A new case with plenty of media puts Corelli right back in the spotlight. Can she find the killer and still keep her job?

As I mentioned in my first review these are not romance books. While I would still call this a lesfic book, only one of the mains, Corelli, is a lesbian. Do not go reading this book hoping for two partners falling in love. These books are for mystery fans. However, I did notice a possible love interest for Corelli in book one. That character is back but we are still at the very possible beginning stages. I have my fingers crossed for some romance in the next installment because I like the chemistry between them.

I made clear this is a mystery book and this is where this book shines. I thought the mystery was really well written. There are a lot of characters and names so you do have to pay attention, but it is worth it. It was not until the 90% mark that I had an epiphany and figured out the killer. Because I love mystery books (and have read a ton) I usually figure them out too quickly. So when a mystery author can keep me in suspense and guessing for most of the book… well, I love when that happens. Plus the killer was not out of left field either. All of a sudden the clues Maiorisi carefully crafted all throughout the book clicked for me so I felt like I was actually there solving the crime. It was just well done and I’m a happy camper.

Another thing I was happy about is that the character of Corelli seemed to grow in this book. She is finally starting to realize she may have PTSD and how she doesn’t always treat her partner well. While I did like Corelli in the first book, she is not always a nice person. She was much more likable in this installment. These books and the character of Corelli remind me a little of the Micky Knight books by Redmann. There is not as much life drama, but both have well-written mysteries with a main character you don’t always like but root hard for anyway.

This book is easy for me to recommend to mystery fans. It is a book to read carefully, but it was a good put-together mystery with a worthy pay off. I’m excited about a possible book 3. I sure hope one is planned because I really like the way the story arc is heading.

An ARC was given to me for an honest review.

Review of ‘Pursuit of happiness’ by Carsen Taite.

Senator Meredith Mitchell, member of an American political dynasty, is expected to become the first American female and openly lesbian president. When she meets public defender Stevie Palmer their mutual attraction is undeniable. Stevie is dedicated to her job and has strong convictions. Trying to date a presidential candidate gets tricky when her privacy is threatened but it becomes impossible when one of Steve’s clients might implicate the Senator’s family in a corruption case. But even the potentially most powerful person in the world needs a chance at love, doesn’t she?

This book is part of a group of political-themed thrillers written by this author along with ‘Courtship’ and ‘A more perfect union’. The main characters of those books make an appearance here which is good to catch up with their stories.

There’s a huge amount of political content in this book, I wouldn’t recommend it to people who aren’t interested in the issue. Even for a person knowledgeable in politics it might be too much as the romance is left in the background. The chemistry is limited because the mains are separated most of the book and, unfortunately, the sexual tension isn’t hot on the scale either.

The novel also introduces a subplot with one of Steve’s cases with potential legal implications for Meredith’s family. At parts it is full of legal jargon hard to follow for the rest of us and feels a bit rushed at the end. The political plot follows the Senator’s bid for the presidency which is a bit simplified but not enough to avoid some technicalities that might confuse some readers. I personally enjoyed it but I have a degree in political science and an interest in American politics.

Overall, an entertaining read for anyone interested in American politics and its legal system but a bit lacking in the romance department. 3.5 stars.

ARC provided by Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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