Monday, March 2, 2015

Lethal Beauty ~ Lis Wiehl with April Henry (earc) review [@Lis Wiehl @aprilhenrybooks @ThomasNelson]

Lethal Beauty (Mia Quinn #3)
Thomas Nelson
March 3, 2015
336 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from TBD/or Amazon

**My reviews of A Matter of Trust and A Deadly Business, the first two Mia Quinn books.**

Mia Quinn discovers that a series of seemingly unrelated murders are linked. How far up are the strings being pulled--and what happens when one of her own is at risk?

The murder Mia is prosecuting seems like an open and shut case--until the accused claims he was the real victim and that the dead girl attacked him first. The tabloids dub her a "lethal beauty." Still, a conviction seems imminent. Then a key witness goes missing. Just when it looks like the killer could walk free, the dead woman's mother takes matters into her own hands.

Meanwhile, Charlie Carlson, a Seattle homicide detective, is investigating the murder of a man whose body washed up on the beach of Puget Sound, but he's got little to go on. He has no dental work, fingerprints aren't on file, and he doesn't match any missing person reports. Then a church pianist is senselessly gunned down before horrified parishioners.

All three cases seem unrelated--but are they? Together, Mia and Charlie race to find the answer before another crime hits too close to home.

Lethal Beauty is the third novel in the Mia Quinn series. Mia has returned to work in the King County District Attorney's office, is coping with the death of her husband, with the secrets of his she's uncovered, and learning how to be a single parent to her two children.

This latest addition to the series can be read as a standalone, but also does a very nice job building on everything presented in the first two books. Minor characters that appeared earlier take on larger, more important roles in Lethal Beauty and the crime Mia's trying to solve.

The balance between Mia's work and home life was done very well. Following the recent death of her husband - and all that has come to light since - Mia is learning how to be a single, working parent and how to deal with who her husband was. Gabe, again, has his own struggles and drama and ends up more involved in Mia's case than she would like.

While Gabe playing a role in whatever case Mia's working on or investigating maybe become forced in the future, it works here. It gives us more than just Mia's glimpse into what's happening and also presents something else, at home, for Mia to worry about and figure out.

The addition of Gabe's friend and the friend's mother to their house is an interesting change for the characters. And a very logical stressor for everyone.

I like that both Charlie and Eli's relationships with Mia continued to evolve in Lethal Beauty It hasn't advanced far enough, on either side, to be considered a 'love triangle,' rather it's something interesting for Mia to think about, to question herself on. I still don't have any particular feelings about Eli, though. He's a nice character, his similarities (in family situation, employment) to Mia make sense. There's nothing that makes him stand out or makes him feel real, however.

I do like Charlie and how his character seems to contrast with Mia's while still complimenting her. I hope we can learn more about him in the future.

The murder mystery, with all of its twists, turns and revelations, was done very nicely. Certain aspects were predictable, but how they then became part of the bigger picture and the whole story still held some great surprises. Even if you can guess at some of the elements, how it all comes together is not always as expected.

The characters and the overall story didn't quite progress as much I would have liked - in some ways it felt like more like a continuation of A Deadly Business than a new, separate novel. Yet, I enjoyed the characters who returned in this third book, the deeper look at some others we received, the characters, their relationships and how everything came together. I am looking forward to more of Mia Quinn.

digital copy received, for review, from publisher via NetGalley

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