Nikki Boyd isn’t usually called in on homicides; her forte is missing persons. But when a case with two murdered and two missing pops up on a quiet suburban street, she’s ready to start the investigation and find missing home-owners Mac and Lucy Hudson. When the first clues lead her to the boat of her friend Tyler Grant–and another dead body–Nikki must untangle what ties Tyler to the Hudsons. The clues pull her into a deadly maze of counterfeit drugs and a killer who will stop at nothing to silence anyone who threatens his business–including Nikki.
Christy Award-winning and best-selling author Lisa Harris puts readers right into the action in this fast-paced thriller that will have them turning pages long into the night.
Seventeen minutes later, Jack pulled into the marina parking lot while Nikki got Gwen back on the phone.
“Tell me what we’re looking for, Gwen. There are hundreds of boats, a restaurant-”
“Give me a second . . . Take the left pier and head toward the end of the dock. I’ll get you as close as I can.”
Nikki hurried in the direction Gwen gave them, with Jack right behind her. The full-service marina would be crowded and noisy on the weekend, especially in the summer, but it was the middle of the week and fairly quiet. Dozens of boats filled the slips, primarily small sailboats and a few larger yachts. She topped and told Gwen where they were.
“Another fifty feet or so,” Gwen said. “End of the pier.”
Nikki continued down the pier, then stopped in front of a forty-foot boat. “Wait a minute. Are you sure? This can’t be the boat.”
“What do you mean?” Jack asked. “You recognize it?”
“Yeah.” Nikki felt an odd sense of dread sweep over her. “It’s the Isabella.”
“That’s got to be it,” Gwen said. “Looks like it’s registered to . . . Tyler Grant.”
Nikki’s mind whirled with confusion. “Yes.”
Jack’s initial look of surprise turned to one of concern.
“Tyler’s been planning to sell the boat,” Nikki said, “but as far as I know, he’s not even been back since Katie died. We’re here now. I’ll call you back in a minute.”
She squeezed her eyes shut and breathed in the damp, sweet smell of the lake. Tyler had inherited the boat from his father. Before Katie had died, she and Tyler spent every free day they could out on the water, often inviting Nikki to come with them. Cutting ties with someone you cared about, even though thy were gone, wasn’t easy. Which was why selling the boat was another piece of closure Tyler had yet to conquer.
“Nikki?” Jack’s voice pulled her back to the present. “What’s the connection between Tyler and our missing couple?”
She opened her eyes and shook her head. “None that I know of.”
Which was why it didn’t make sense. Why would Mac and Lucy Hudson’s disappearance lead them to Tyler’s boat? Shoving the question aside for the moment, she stepped onto the boat ahead of Jack.
She climbed down into the cabin, taking in the details of the familiar room. Michael Grant had spared no expense when he bought the boat over a decade ago, eventually willing it to his son. Cherry cabinetry, leather seating, and an updated drop-down flat-screen TV . . . But none of those things had her attention. For the second time today, the scent of death filled her nostrils. Her mind tried to process the scene in front of her. Blood pooled on the carpeted floor. And Tyler Grant hovered over a man’s lifeless body.
If Nikki Boyd wanted time in her life for mundane necessities like food and sleep, she certainly shouldn’t have signed on for this series! There was no time to stop as she sought to get to the bottom of who was after Mac and Lucy Hudson and why, but it’s hard to get answers when the people you need to speak to keep dying. Not only that, but Tyler has somehow managed to get tangled up in the case, meaning that he (and potentially his son, Liam) are also targets.
I think Lisa Harris’s plotting has stepped up a notch with this series. The plot was definitely what kept me hooked into this story – well paced, with plenty of danger, and constantly shifting as Nikki and her partner Jack try to get to the bottom of everything. As a suspense novel, this was definitely a good read.
I found the romantic plot less engaging. Readers of Vendetta will already know Tyler and Nikki’s story (but there’s also enough to pick it up in this one if you haven’t): Tyler was married to Nikki’s best friend, Katie, who died thirteen months ago in a boating accident. Dealing with the grief of Katie’s death has brought Tyler and Nikki closer together, and at the end of the previous novel, Nikki realised that her feelings have moved beyond merely friendship.
The difficulty when a romantic plot stretches across a series is keeping the tension up, but also keeping it moving forward. There was certainly tension here, with Nikki wishing she could tell Tyler about the change in her feelings, but holding back because it’s too soon for him. Tyler is also considering some options for his future that bring a little extra tension to the relationship, but I felt like we were getting the same inner narrative each time they were together. That said, the romantic plot is not the primary focus in this novel, so it didn’t impact my enjoyment of the novel overmuch. And there was some payoff at the last minute (and that’s all I’m sayin’ about that! 😉 ).
All said, I’m definitely looking forward to the next novel in this series. There were reminders of the case concerning the disappearance of Nikki’s sister, Sarah (the other topic that tended to get a bit repetitive in the inner narrative), but not much in the way of developments here. Something else to look for in later releases!
I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
Release date: 5 July 2016
Author’s website: http://www.lisaharriswrites.com/