Saturday, November 4, 2017

ARC Review: Unholy City by Carrie Smith

Unholy City
Author: Carrie Smith
Series: Claire Codella Mystery
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (November 7, 2017)

Description: Despite their rocky history, Detective Claire Codella and Precinct Detective Brian Haggerty come together when senior churchwarden Philip Graves’s bloody body is found lying in the herb garden of historic St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Manhattan’s Upper West Side just two days before Good Friday. Upon first glance, it looks like a random act of big city violence, but it soon becomes clear churchwarden Philip’s death was the result of a meticulously calculated ploy by someone who knew him.

There are five vestry members and a choir director in addition to the ten homeless men asleep in the church basement. Any one of them could have done it, but what did Philip Graves do to warrant such a merciless death? Struggling to share the case and salvage their personal relationship, Claire, Brian and trusted Detective Eduardo Muñoz work around the clock to uncloak the desires, secrets, and resentments that find home through the iron gates and into the hidden beauty of one historic Romanesque church in Unholy City, the haunting third installment in Carrie Smith’s Claire Codella mysteries.

My Thoughts: The third Claire Codella mystery concerns the death of two members of St. Paul's Episcopal Church's vestry committee. Claire has a nice assortment of vestry members and the priest, Mother Anna, as suspects. Almost all of them had reasons why the death of Phillip Graves would be a blessing though not so much for the death of Emily Flounders. Each of them also has secrets that they are determined to keep.

As Codella, Haggerty and Munoz investigate, the suspects all try to keep their secrets. Meanwhile, Haggerty and Codella are still working on their personal relationship and Codella is dealing with a Lieutenant who is making her work life hard for her.

I liked that the story was told from a number of different viewpoints. I liked finding out some of the secrets the suspects were trying to hide before the police did. I liked seeing the dedication of the police officers as they tried to find out who killed Phillip Graves, Emily Flounders and later Stephanie Lund.

Codella is a nicely complex character whose dedication to her job as a homicide investigator grew out of her own past experiences. I liked that she was a cancer survivor forever changed by her experience.

Fans of police procedurals with nicely complex characters will enjoy this mystery.

Favorite Quote:
She opened her mouth to whisper a prayer for the dead, but the words that came to her lips were a prayer of penance: "May God our Father forgive us our sins and bring us to the Fellowship of his table with his saints forever."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.


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