May 26, 2015
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* My reviews of Dr Samantha Owens Books 1-3 and the Taylor Jackson series 1-7 *
Critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling author J. T. Ellison delivers another riveting novel featuring the incomparable Dr. Samantha Owens
Waking to sirens in the night is hardly unusual for Samantha Owens. No longer a medical examiner, she doesn't lose sleep over them, but a routine police investigation in her neighborhood has her curious. When her homicide detective friend, Darren Fletcher, invites her to look over the evidence, she jumps at the chance and immediately realizes the crime scene has been staged. What seems to be a clear case of murder/suicide—a crime of passion—is anything but. The discovery of toxic substances in hidden vials indicates that something much more sinister is at play…
As Fletch and Sam try to understand what and who they are dealing with, they are summoned to a meeting at the State Department. High-level officials are interested in what they know and seem to be keeping secrets of their own. It's up to Sam and Fletch to uncover what lies behind the deception as the threat of bioterrorism is exposed, and her boyfriend, Xander Whitfield, may be in the line of fire.
Unsure who to trust, Sam and Fletch find themselves up against very powerful people at every stage in the investigation. No one is who they appear to be and with every minute that passes, the danger escalates. It's Sam's most complex case yet and the terrifying reality is beyond anything she could have imagined.
What Lies Behind is another great installment in JT Ellison's Dr Samantha Owens series. Sam has moved from Nashville to Washington DC, has a new home, a new job and a new man in her life. Her fresh start doesn't take her away from crimes and investigations as much as she expected, though.
While she is now a professor, no longer a medical examiner, Sam is now working for the FBI with John Baldwin and seems to keep helping with homicide investigations.
I really like Sam's friendship with Fletch and how it creates a very plausible (and easy) way for her to become involved in the cases. Their characters fit well together and have different, but complimentary, ways of approaching investigating crimes. I'm glad that (most) of the romantic questions/feelings/possibilities of their pairing are in the past. I'm also glad that it hasn't been completely forgotten, it feels more authentic that way.
It seemed that Xander was in this book less than the others, despite him having his own, parallel storyline. It is possible that there were just fewer scenes with Xander and Sam (especially after the previous book). I do still really like his character, the little bits we seem to find out about his past each time and love him and Sam, together.
When I first heard about this series, I wasn't sure what to think. I liked Sam in the Taylor Jackson books but didn't know how a series revolving around her would work, if I would like it. Now, four books in, I really love both the series and the character. Part of what I loved about the Taylor Jackson series was how creative, surprising and well done the mystery (the crime, the suspects, the solving) of each books was. I love that in this series, too, but in this series there is more of a scientific side to things. It fits with Sam especially well
A few things were left as questions at the end of the novel. One or two may just be mysteries that the characters - and, therefore, readers - will never know, but the other(s) have me really, really looking forward to the next book.
(What Lies Behind is part of a series - and the series itself spins-off of another series - but each novel is pretty self contained. You'll, of course, know more about the characters and better understand their relationships, etc the more of the books you've read, but it isn't required.)
digital copy received for review from publisher, via NetGalley