Devil in the Deadline
by LynDee Walker
Book 4 of A Nichelle Clarke Crime Thriller
When Richmond Police find a young woman's bloody remains spread across a candle-lit altar in an abandoned power plant on the banks of the James River, they give crime reporter Nichelle Clarke an all-access pass in exchange for her help.
But the information Nichelle gets from the victim's friends only draws her deeper into the mystery. Where did Jasmine come from? How did she end up on the streets of Shockoe Bottom? And why doesn't she have any dental records?
The answer trail stops at the front doors of a sprawling compound in the foothills of the Blue Ridge, where Nichelle finds a secretive cult leader and his devoted following. It is a world where lies become truth, and money is the true idol. Money some people would do anything to keep collecting...
Even if it means murdering a nosy reporter.
Another solid entry into the Nichelle Clarke Crime Thriller series by LynDee Walker that drew me right into the book. The murder mystery itself is a bit gruesome in this one, and the subject matter was as dark and gritty as in previous books. The truth is, this series feels less cozy mystery and more crime thriller, which makes it all the more intriguing.
I appreciate that our heroine, Nichelle is a level-headed, resourceful, smart, and tough main character. None of that weird accident-prone traits for the sake of a few laughs that I've seen in other cozy mysteries. Nichelle knows what's she's doing with herself and doesn't draw attention if she doesn't need to, and you can count on her to do her job properly. She still has her moments of stepping into situations that she knows damn well are dangerous... but as an investigative crime reporter, I suppose I'll have to accept that it's all part of the job.
The murder mystery itself was quite twisty, and there were a lot of possibilities for the whodunnit.
As much as I enjoyed reading this book, there were a few quibbles that didn't work for me.
The murder mystery, while outlined rather well, ended up also including a lot of side tangents that felt a bit chaotic. I didn't expect that some of Nichelle's personal history would be touched upon, and I'm glad that it happened, concerning her absent father and a brief mention of the tension between her and her mother and her grandparents... but the introduction of that felt a bit sudden. Maybe we'll expand on that in the next book?
Meanwhile, I'm still not feeling the love triangle, if only because I'm still not feeling any chemistry between Nichelle and either of her two potential love interests. And also, the truth is, I don't really care for love triangles, so I'm doubly not feeling this continued dragging out of the love triangle. And even though we can clearly see that Nichelle is leaning more towards one man over the other... it's still not quite working for me.
On the other hand, when Nichelle and Kyle are bantering as friends, I'm quite enjoying, probably because the two have a history. But when the romance swings around, it's hard to take it seriously if only because even Nichelle herself isn't feeling that spark with Kyle. On the other hand, I'm personally not feeling the spark with Joey... I was still holding out hope for Grant Parker... but he barely makes an appearance in this book, so no go on that one, and also he's got a serious girlfriend already, so boo... because I'd be loathe to make Nichelle an "other woman" character.
And so I'm glad that this book is more than just romance, and that the murder mystery as well as Nichelle's work as a reporter are the main focus.
I'm also extremely happy that we've finally got a satisfying conclusion to the newsroom "Mean Girls" stuff going on with Shelby. Truth is, great female relationships are hard enough to find in a lot of books without purposefully including one as toxic as the one between Shelby and Nichelle. From book one, I've felt that this particular part of the character interactions were unnecessary. It's already been hard enough that there are upper administration, outside reporters, and lots of other influences threatening Nichelle's ability to do her job. We didn't need a Mean Girl Shelby, and we didn't need the slut-shaming. So I'm glad that Shelby and Nichelle have finally called a truce and have stopped sniping at each other.
Otherwise, like I'd already mentioned, the murder mystery and the writing and the book itself, is extremely solid, and enjoyable, and very exciting.
Square: Who? (3) | Read a mystery or detective story, or a book with the word "who" in the title.
How it fits: This book is a cozy mystery.
Page Count: 282