Series: Virtue Falls
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Narrator: Rebecca Soler
Also in this series: Obsession Falls, The Woman Who Couldn't Scream
Also by this author: Obsession Falls, The Woman Who Couldn't Scream, Wrong Alibi
Twenty-two years ago, the beautiful Misty Banner was brutally murdered in her home in Virtue Falls, Washington. Her daughter Elizabeth, four years old at the time of the murder, has lived her entire life believing that her father committed the crime. Now, decades later, Elizabeth is back in Virtue Falls and hoping to find the reasons behind the murder. What she never expects to learn, though, is that her father was innocent all along. In fact, the real killer is still out there. And Elizabeth's mother was not his only victim...
This was my first Christina Dodd book but I am hooked on her style already! Virtue Falls is a murder mystery second chance love story and so much more.
First, let me say that the narrator was perfect! I appreciate when female narrators don’t try to do male voices! Her Irish accent was perfect too and her voice just changes slightly for different characters so that you know who is speaking. Sometimes it was a subtle accent, sometimes it was a slight change in pitch or pace. Overall, she did a great job!
Now, on to the story. The main characters, Elizabeth and Garik, are really interesting and complex characters. They were married previously but got divorced about a year prior to when the book takes place. Elizabeth is a geologist, like her father. Elizabeth also witnessed her mothers brutal murder when she was 4. Her father was convicted of the crime, but many in the town felt he didn’t do it. When an earthquake hits Virtue Falls, Garik rushes back to check on his adoptive mother, Margaret, and his ex wife, Elizabeth (whom he still loves deeply!).
There are a LOT of characters in the book. Some are important; some are not. You will spend a great deal of the book trying to parse out who is important and who isn’t! Dodd gives you lots of red herrings. You are trying to figure out if Charles Banner did kill his wife or if he didn’t, then who did. Because of the sheer number of characters and the introduction of them all, the beginning of the book felt a little slow to me. I struggled to really get into it because I couldn’t figure out who was important, ya know!
The book has lots of danger and drama too! The earthquake is the biggest disaster to hit Virtue Falls and simply dealing with that (and the following Tsunami) would have been a story all its own, but then a body is discovered, people are attacked, a house is burned down, and so much more. All of it leads you to suspecting multiple people of various crimes! I will say Dodd really kept me on my toes. I never felt SURE I knew who was the killer until she revealed it. I had guessed this person a few times, but guessed several other people as well. Kudos to Dodd for writing some of the best mystery plots I have read!
Now, the romance. I actually liked the second chance story of Elizabeth and Garik. Elizabeth reminds me of Sheldon Cooper-focused on things that can be explained with logic and science, slightly awkward in social situations, and viewed as a bit of an ‘odd duck’ by other people. Garik is an FBI agent with a tragic past and these two struggled to communicate. Elizabeth wanted Garik to talk to her and Garik kept everything bottled up. Their interactions in the face of the tragedy and danger really forces both of them to open up a bit. While the romance is kind of secondary to the other drama going on, its very present and I found it to be really enjoyable!
My only complaint is the ending is a bit abrupt. And I’m still not exactly sure what the whole story line about Kateri is all about.
- POV: 3rd
- Tears: No
- Trope: second chance, who-dun-it
- Triggers: none
- Series/Standalone: Standalone
- Cliffhanger: No
- HEA: View Spoiler »Yes, the murderer is caught and Elizabeth and Garik decide to get remarried « Hide Spoiler
Kill without Mercy by Alexandra Ivy, Cold Hearted by Toni Anderson, Deep Dark by Laura Griffin, Extreme Pursuit by Alex Kingwell…then you will probably like Virtue Falls!
Murder mystery and second chance romance sounds good to me! I sometimes struggle with books with very large casts, but this sounds good. I like the sound of Elizabeth even though Sheldon can drive me crazy at times!
Great review, Samantha!
Yes, the large cast made it a bit difficult to get into at first, but it did work well! And she is only slightly Sheldon ish so it shouldn’t be too bad! There were only a handful of times I was reminded of Sheldon!