A very promising debut novel
I’ve wanted to listen to something different this week but still with some romance on the side. A story about a relationship between a cop and a forensic analyst while searching for a serial killer was exactly what I was looking for.
Remy Devereux is a homicide detective with the San Francisco Police Department investigating a case of a serial killer preying on young women. Giana Falco has recently moved to San Francisco after breaking her engagement with her fiance. When both women meet sparks fly but Giana is straight and Remy should know better than getting involved with her. But as their mutual attraction grows, there’s a serial killer lurking in the shadows ready to attack again…
Before listening to this book I thought that this was mainly a police procedural with a romance in the background but it’s exactly the opposite, the romance is in the driving seat of the plot and the serial killer part takes little page time until the end when the thriller finally makes it appearance.
This is an impressive debut by Dolores Arden, it started really strong and kept my interest for the first third of the book. I personally found that the middle part felt a bit repetitive, that’s when the romance conflict takes over the plot. I think that less would have been more and maybe editing some parts out would have made the conflict stronger. In the last third, when the thriller takes over, the pace picks up again and so did my investment in the story.
For those readers who are triggered by sexual assault, there are a few references to it as the serial killer is a rapist too and there is a particular scene that is quite graphic. Apologies if this acts as a spoiler but it’s fair for readers to be warned. Beyond that isolated specific scene, most of the book is benign enough.
The romance takes most part of the plot and it’s really well written. This is a coming-out story for Gina and I loved that the author made her so temperamental and passionate. Her Italian heritage comes across as authentic, at least from my experience as having half Italian family myself. The mutual chemistry and attraction are sizzling. The sex scenes are really well done. If the conflict between the mains would have been just a little less repetitive, this would have been a 5 star for me. Despite this, Gray Matters is a solid debut worth of your time.
The audiobook is narrated by Melissa Moran who did an excellent job. Her voices are distinct and her performance of the emotions is powerful. This is a tricky story to narrate as the tone and pace change from romance to thriller but Ms. Moran made the transition sound natural. Overall a very promising debut, recommended if you like your thrillers with lots of romance and heat. 4 stars.
Length: 10 hrs and 11 mins