Bleeding Darkness - Brenda Chapman

Whoo-hoo…book #5 has cemented this series as one of my faves. There’s always a well plotted police investigation to puzzle out while you catch up with the MC’s personal lives & that combination continues here.

 

The book synopsis sums up the investigative angle. One cold case, one fresh body. Both are connected to one of the most dysfunctional families you’ll come across. It’s clear early on that the recently deceased patriarch kept a big secret from the rest of them & as they gather at his bedside, all the old jealousies (and claws) come out.

 

We spend most of our time with Lauren, who grew up with her father’s love & her mother’s disdain. She just wants the funeral to be over so she can get the hell out of Dodge & back to her life in Toronto. Dealing with Mother is bad enough but the recent murder is bringing up memories of another death years ago that haunts her to this day. She’s under pressure from the family to tow the party line but when she meets cop Kala Stonechild, she’s tempted to tell her story.

 

When Kala & Paul Gunderdund are called to the crime scene, a snow covered body leads them directly to the McKenna’s, a family with another murder in their past. While colleague Woodhouse is assigned the new case, Kala begins to dig into the death of Lauren’s childhood friend.

 

The timing’s not great. Kala is taking care of her best friend’s teenage daughter & gets word the girl’s estranged father is looking for her after his release from prison. He’s a real piece of work & the last thing they need as Kala helps Dawn settle into her life. She also has a budding friendship with colleague Bennett…much to Gundersund’s dismay. But he’s hardly in a position to step in. He’s still married to Fiona, the she-devil from hell * (* all crabby comments property of reviewer).

 

Meanwhile, boss Jacques Rouleau has been forced to take on a more managerial role. The endless cycle of meetings & office politics is driving him crazy & Woodhouse continues to be a thorn in his side. The only bright light is a possible romance with reporter Marci Stokes. Could she be the one? (NOOO! For Pete’s sake, look right in front of you, Jacques!)

 

What a great read. Getting to know the McKenna’s is like spending time in a pit of vipers. Lauren is the exception. She’s a sympathetic young woman just beginning to find her spine and might just be ready to give up a few bad habits. But hey….who hasn’t slurped down a few cocktails after too much “family time”? Her need to finally break free of the past leads to a tentative relationship with Kala through which we slowly learn what happened all those years ago. Still, I wasn’t prepared for the final reveals. I had an inkling about one of the who-dunnits but the other left me gaping.

 

Several story lines are ongoing through the books & they continued to evolve in this one. I like these characters & I’ll be waiting on book #6 to see where the author steers them next.