Tuesday, March 7, 2023

ARC Review: Red Queen by Juan Gomez-Jurado

Red Queen

Author: Juan Gomez-Jurado
Publication: Minotaur Books (March 14, 2023)

Description: Introducing Antonia Scott―the most compelling and original detective since Lisbeth Salander―in Juan Gómez-Jurado's Red Queen, the #1 international award-winning bestseller & thriller that has taken the world by storm.

Antonia Scott―the daughter of a British diplomat and a Spanish mother―has a gifted forensic mind, whose ability to reconstruct crimes and solve baffling murders is legendary. But after a personal trauma, she's refused to continue her work or even leave her apartment.

Jon Gutierrez, a police officer in Bilbao―disgraced, suspended, and about to face criminal charges―is offered a chance to salvage his career by a secretive organization that works in the shadows to direct criminal investigations of a highly sensitive nature. All he has to do is succeed where many others have failed: Convince a recalcitrant Antonia to come out of her self-imposed retirement, protecting her and helping her investigate a new, terrifying case.

The case is a macabre, ritualistic murder―a teen-aged boy from a wealthy family whose body was found without a drop of blood left in it. But the murder is just the start. A high-ranking executive and daughter of one of the richest men in Spain is kidnapped, a crime which is tied to the previous murder. Behind them both is a hidden mastermind with even more sinister plans. And the only person with a chance to see the connections, solve the crimes and successfully match wits with the killer before tragedy strikes again...is Antonia Scott.

My Thoughts: Two unique detectives take on a difficult case. Jon Guiterrez is a disgraced cop. He was filmed planting drugs in a pimp's car and now faces potential criminal charges. He's approached by a man who calls himself Mentor who will make everything go away if he just does one small favor for him.

Antonia Scott has a gifted forensic mind, but a personal tragedy caused a mental breakdown. Now all she does is spend nights in hospital with her comatose husband and days in her empty apartment. Jon has to convince her to take a case assigned by Mentor.

The body of a young boy has been found drained of blood and posed in his parents' house in an exclusive and very secure neighborhood of Madrid. He had been kidnapped and a demand was made to his mother who runs one of Europe's largest banks. When the demand wasn't met, the boy was killed. There is a lot of pressure to cover up the crime.

Then the daughter of the world's richest man is kidnapped, and another demand is sent to her father. Her father isn't going to meet the demand which leaves Antonia and Jon just a few days to find and rescue her. But the regular police don't want to cooperate since they are led by a real glory hound who sees solving the case as the road to fame and promotion he desperately wants.

Not only are Jon and Antonia avoiding notice from the villains, but they have to avoid the police too. Antonia's keen observation skills and unconventional mind help them discover clues that the police don't. But the villain has a new plan in mind: kidnap Antonia's four-year-old son. 

I enjoyed this story which was translated from the Spanish and is the start of a trilogy very popular in Spain. The characters of Jon and Antonia were very complex and nuanced. The mystery was both gritty and involved. I'm looking forward to reading more about these two unconventional detectives. 

Favorite Quote:
I'll catch whoever did this to you, she tells the boy in the photo.

As these words take shape in her mind, she immediately regrets them. But there's no way she can go back on them now. That's the problem with promising things to the dead.

It's harder to apologize when you fail. 
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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