A solid and intriguing mystery romance

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When in Doubt by VK Powell

A solid and intriguing mystery romance

Review of When in Doubt by VK Powell

If you follow my reviews you might know that I’m always game for a good crime novel. Jery Wylder is a committed police officer, her squad is her family. Especially her partner Randy who is almost like a brother to her. But when a drug-house mission goes totally wrong and she wakes up injured and with amnesia, she’s completely thrown off track. She is a mess, she is in an emotional dilemma, her memory loss stresses her, and she feels guilty. To make things worse, her open relationship with her lover becomes uncomfortable as her lover demands more commitment from her than she is willing to give. All of these lead her to make some mindless decisions. She knows she has to change some things to get back on track.

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Simone Sullivan is a psychologist and is the owner of an apartment building that is supposed to be replaced by a large high-rise project and someone is trying to convince her to sell by irregular means. She has had a traumatic break-up with her lover Kay, as Kay did not measure up to her family and so-called friends. She is determined not to allow this to happen again. Worst-case scenario, she must choose between a girlfriend or family/friends.

Shortly before the tragic event in the drug-house, Jery is called to an incident at Simone’s house, and so their paths cross. Both are attracted to each other from the first moment, but they both know that now is not the right time for getting involved.

I liked both characters from the beginning, but Jery didn’t always make it easy for me, her way of dealing with the difficult situation she’s in is not always understandable, but I don’t judge her as I have no idea how I would deal with stuff like that myself. Her inner struggles, doubts, and guilt are very well described. It must be incredibly difficult to deal with such events. I like it when an author doesn’t portray the characters as perfect heroines, but as difficult, struggling, or uncomfortable people who make me reflect on them. As a former police officer, VK Powell has experienced knowledge to write realistic cop stories.

The romance is rather slow-burn and certainly doesn’t come first, the criminal cases were too dominant for that, but this doesn’t bother me in a crime novel. I liked that both of them didn’t want to just jump into bed with each other despite their attraction while they were in this difficult situation. They get to know each other better through Jery’s struggle with PTSD, even though it’s not the most romantic way to show yourself as vulnerable and, in many people’s eyes, as weak as Jery did.

The secondary characters were another matter, I liked bar owner Casey as she was a very supportive friend. But I didn’t like Simone’s friends at all, they were so snobbish and I hated their behavior towards Jery. I can’t stand it when someone’s wealth makes them a worthy partner or not and how the wealthy think that the working class should just do their job but not run in their circles (as if we ever wanted that). However, Simone’s friends make sense in the story despite everything.

Overall a good story, a mix of police procedural, mystery, and romance. The criminal cases were exciting and the involvement and resolution of the cases were good, although not very surprising. I had a few entertaining hours.

My rating 4 stars
Thanks to Bold Strokes Books and NetGalley for receiving an ARC for an honest review

When in Doubt by VK Powell

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