A Woman to Blame by Vincent Panettiere
Publication Date: October 14th 2019
Genre: Mystery / Suspense
Hours after a thoroughbred racehorse collapses and dies after finishing last in a race he was favored to win, his trainer—a young woman with a promising career—is found dead on a suburban Chicago beach. To the police, it’s a simple case of murder-suicide. But Mike Hegan, veteran police detective, refuses to believe the official story. Instead of retiring like they want him to, he embarks upon a search for the truth, and finds himself on a Caribbean island where scores are settled—and lives are lost.Fans of James Patterson and other crime fiction writers will find a new hero in Mike Hegan—a detective who defies convention to make sure that justice is served.
*** Note: I received this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to author. ***
Books I read by the same author:
- The Scopas Factor
A woman To Blame was first in Mike Hegan mystery series. This book was packed with murder, drama, horse race gambling, mafia feud, exploitation and swindling along with grief, loss, guilt, and romance.
As I read the second book in this series I was familiar with the writing style. Like second book in this too, it was third person narrative from multiple perspective. The plot was interesting and suspenseful.
It started with wedding bell ringing over Hegan’s head, he was trying to take leap of faith and marry Lucy in 6 months. 6 months later, he was returning back to Chicago from Caribbean with dead bodies, one of it was of woman’s for which he would feel guilty forever. Timeline was not mentioned and so it was confusing in the beginning but I could make connection later. It made me curious to know what happened to marriage and how and why he went to Caribbean. It peddles back taking readers to present and to the case mentioned in the synopsis and how it all started with a burnt fish. Yes, you heard it right and it was quite funny. That burnt fish and huge misunderstanding leads to mafia feud, a dead body of loan shark, vendetta and to the death of thoroughbred race horse and its trainer.
Lots of things happened with many turns and some shocking twist that involved long list of characters and many suspects. All characters were introduced one by one- some with their story and what was going on in their life and some indirectly related to them- and how they all, directly or indirectly, were connected to the death of a young woman with promising carrier as horse trainer. It was clear very early how that woman died. The story was about who killed her and why and how it leads Hegan to Caribbean. As I read more, new questions were added to the mystery and it made me doubt to my theory and my guesses.
Along with this complicated but really interesting mystery there were glimpse of Hegan’s life, his girlfriend, his family drama and tragedy in his life (which was so very movie like, that made me shake my head in disbelief). His emotions, frustration and anger was palpable. It was really unfair the way his department was treating him, I’m sure there could be alternative to the situation Hegan was into, but I guess a departmental politics was involved here or more like keeping control of unruly officer and I could later case was more predominant. As the story developed, Hegan also developed, he learned to accept his situation eventually. His drive to get justice for dead woman was admirable and at the same time crazy. But his this madness unrevealed the complicated mystery and also helped him to move on in his life. I loved his sense of responsibility and protectiveness towards his loved ones.
All the secondary characters were great, even villain or villains. My favorite character was Clay and Portia. Clay was Hegan’s florist friend. I liked this big guy who made this tense story light. Portia was fierce, kickass artist, determined to find out who killed her sister. It was horrible to read what she and her sister gone through and after reading it, I felt they deserved happiness. I could understand Portia’s mistrust towards men and her extreme reactions.
Suspense was great that kept me guessing who real culprit was until climax. So much happened in last few ages. Climax was shocking, tense and tragic. Even after so much loss in short time, I liked how Hegan kept moving in life at the end.
Why 4 stars-
Though story was interesting and engaging, it moved slowly, maybe because of length. I didn’t like that dramatic turn at his sister’s house. Couldn’t Hegan shoot in defense, why being such hero and doing all that! And that scene around climax at cliff with Hegan’s taxi driver. It was eye roll moment. Both these scenes felt so Bollywood like.
Overall, it was interesting, cleverly written, complicated mystery with many characters and twist and turns.
What do you think about the book and review?
Have you read this book already or any book by the same author?
Which is your favorite crime mystery/fiction?
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