Pretty Dead (Elise Sandburg Series) - Anne Frasier

You'd think Elise Sandburg & David Gould had been through enough. Unfortunately for them, a creepy (and anonymous) killer discloses early on his plans to move to Savannah & pick up where he left off.

Elise is head of homicide now & counts on David to have her back. She's still recovering from her ordeal with Atticus Tremain & just a tad on edge. Add her estranged "dead" father & an annoying ride-along reporter to the mix & she's hanging on by a thread. The last thing she needs is the discovery of a murdered woman whose body bears a striking resemblance to another unsolved homicide. 

David isn't in much better shape. He's given up on a relationship with Elise & is currently bonking a co-worker. Something about these homicides makes him uneasy but there's little time to gather his thoughts before body #3 changes everything. 

 

This is a fast paced police procedural with plenty of action & "holy crap!" moments. The case only becomes more complex as it unfolds in ways no one could have predicted. But the book is also about the returning characters that inhabit it & their lives way from the job. And I think I enjoyed this aspect of the story even more than the cops vs. psycho side of the plot. 

Elis is a smart, strong woman determined to overcome her past. Her father abandoned her as an infant & faked his death. Now he's back, insinuating himself into the lives of her & teenage daughter Audrey. Most people view her as having a spine of steel  but we are privy to her private doubts & fears & know better. This makes her far more interesting than the stock female detective of fiction who devotes all her time to proving she has a bigger pair. 

Her relationship with David is complex. She's scared to death of intimacy but can't imagine life without him. He feels the same way. Well, not about the intimacy. He'd definitely be really, really ok with it. Like Elise, he's spent a lot of time getting over the past. The loss of his son led to doubts about his professional skills & he wonders if he should even be a cop. This case resurrects some of his history & the loss of someone else close to him may be the last straw. 

Together, they just about make one emotionally functional person & it's easy to understand why they're drawn to each other. 

Peripheral characters include their demanding boss, a madam with interesting ties to Elise's family & Savannah's mayor who is personally affected by the killer's spree. He's also the guy who delivers the book's final surprise. I may have figured out who the killer was but I did NOT see that coming. 

This is a great summer read. There are plenty of well written thrillers out there but what distinguishes this one are 2 unique MC's you'll cheer for. Can't wait to see what happens next.