Thursday, October 1, 2020

ARC Review: Shadow Ridge by M. E. Browning

Shadow Ridge

Author: M. E. Browning
Series: Jo Wyatt Mysteries (Book 1)
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (October 6, 2020)

Description: Death is one click away when a string of murders rocks a small Colorado town in the first mesmerizing novel in M. E. Browning's A Jo Wyatt Mystery series.

Echo Valley, Colorado, is a place where the natural beauty of a stunning river valley meets a budding hipster urbanity. But when an internet stalker is revealed to be a cold-blooded killer in real life the peaceful community is rocked to its core.

It should have been an open-and-shut case: the suicide of Tye Horton, the designer of a cutting-edge video game. But Detective Jo Wyatt is immediately suspicious of Quinn Kirkwood, who reported the death. When Quinn reveals an internet stalker is terrorizing her, Jo is skeptical. Doubts aside, she delves into the claim and uncovers a link that ties Quinn to a small group of beta-testers who had worked with Horton. When a second member of the group dies in a car accident, Jo's investigation leads her to the father of a young man who had killed himself a year earlier. But there's more to this case than a suicide, and as Jo unearths the layers, a more sinister pattern begins to emerge--one driven by desperation, shame, and a single-minded drive for revenge.

As Jo closes in, she edges ever closer to the shattering truth--and a deadly showdown that will put her to the ultimate test.

My Thoughts: This book introduces Detective Jo Wyatt of Echo Valley, Colorado. The story begins with her discovering the body of a young college student with her soon-to-be-ex husband. Tye Horton looks like a classic suicide but Jo has a feeling that she's overlooking something.

Quinn Kirkland discovered the body and called it in. She's a fellow student in the same college program - having to do with computer gaming - and she wants the final project that the two of them were woking on. Quinn has problems of her own. She's being cyber-stalked and the threats are getting closer to home. Quinn also has a past which includes heroin use and the death of her police officer mother in the line of duty when she went into a dangerous place to pull Quinn out. Quinn's clean now and has a bad attitude toward the police.

Quinn and Jo butt heads because both of them have attitudes and isues. Jo's marriage is falling apart, her ex got the post of police sargeant that both of them were working toward, and she's facing harassment from other police officers because of her gender. Even her father, a retired police officer, isn't on her side.

But Jo is determined to look into Tye's death and the threats Quinn faces and soon begins to believe that the cases are linked and have something to do with a computer game Tye had written. When a suicide from one year earlier is linked to the cases and the third member of the group working on the game dies too, Jo knows she has to hurry to find the killer before Quinn becomes the next victim.

I liked this book a lot. Jo is a great character. I liked that she was willing to put up with the harassment in order to do a job she loves. I liked her persistence and determination to bring a killer to justice. I look forward to reading more about Jo in future books. 

Favorite Quote:
"I only looked at this" -- she held up the printout -- "to take a break from all this." She waved her hand over the piles.

"Which is?"

"Everything you ever wanted to know about computer forensics and were stupid enough to ask for."

"Anything interesting?"

"Tons. Sadly, I only comprehended about a pound of it." 

I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.


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