I had a lovely surprise yesterday, which I’d like to share with you all. The White Carnation was reviewed by Night Owl Reviews and got 4.50 out of 5 stars. As if that wasn’t wonderful enough, it was also selected as a top pick. Since I was having a tough day, it perked me right up, and I wanted to share my joy with you all since you’ve been so supportive.
The White Carnation
Harvester Series, #1
Susanne Matthews presents a truly stunning suspense scenario with this story. The situation itself could be a main character but Faye and Rob hold their own in this powerful romance. Faye is definitely a hard umm nosed reporter and seeing her become a victim was compelling. I seemed to click with Rob instantly, after seeing his side of the break up I couldn’t help but feel for him. As the situation progressed I found myself being more and more drawn to his protective personality. Without giving too much detail away, the serial killer and his modus operandi are fascinating and scary as all heck. I couldn’t stop reading this book that was filled with so much evil and yet held so much hope as well. If you are a fan of any one or all of the following elements, journalistic suspense, estranged lovers, elusive serial killers, determined detectives or romantic suspense, this is a must read.
Reporter Faye Lewis has been disgraced and demoted and had her heart broken but she’s determined to become a successful investigative report one again. However, she never thought she’d become part of the story. Detective Rob Halliday never thought he’d see Faye again after she accused him of sabotaging her career but when a friend is murder he’s the first person she calls. Now his serial killer investigation crosses over in to her case can they capture a killer and the feelings they once shared?
The last person disgraced reporter Faye Lewis wants back in her life is Detective Rob Halliday, the man she blames for ruining her career and breaking her heart. But when she finds an old friend murdered, he’s the one she calls.
For the past year, Rob and his team have been hunting the Harvester, a serial killer who ritualistically murders new mothers and vanishes with their infants. What Rob doesn’t need is another case, especially one involving his ex-fiancée.
Then Faye is assaulted, and Rob realizes the cases are connected. She may hold the answers he needs to find the elusive killer. But the more they investigate, the more complex the situation becomes. Can they set the past aside and work together, or will the Harvester and his followers reap another prize?
Here’s your tease:
Parking in the public lot, Rob walked across the sand, past the swing set, to the edge of the mowed grass. The FBI forensic team moved around the crime scene, bagging garbage and whatever else they could find, keeping the morbid curiosity-seekers away from the corpse. So far, the bastard had dumped the bodies without leaving a trace of evidence, and with the rain, if he’d left anything this time, it would be compromised. Rob shivered and cursed the fact that he’d left his overcoat at home. His damp wool suit, now chilling him in the ongoing mist, would have to go to the cleaners in the morning. He had to remember to leave an umbrella in the car.
In any murder investigation, the first forty-eight hours were critical. Rob’s eight-hour shift had become a twelve-hour one, and it wasn’t likely to end soon. He’d put in twenty-four-hour days before—he’d do so again. With two new cases to solve, he doubted he’d have five minutes to himself in the near future.
He sought out Garett Pierce, the FBI agent attached to the case. As usual, the man, in his mid-thirties, reminded him of a tall, skinny Peter Falk in his role as Columbo, the fumbling detective who always seemed wrinkled but inevitably solved the crime. He looked like he’d just crawled out of bed after sleeping in his clothes, but Rob was convinced appearances were deceiving. Tom distrusted the guy, but that was probably just posturing. Due to retire soon and therefore a little territorial, Tom didn’t want to share the glory of solving this case with an outsider. Pierce’s unkempt look had a habit of relaxing people, and when people relaxed, they often gave up more information than they would otherwise. Rob didn’t understand it, but apparently it worked.
Tonight, the man was even more disheveled than usual. How did a guy like this become one of the Bureau’s top men? J. Edgar Hoover must be rolling over in his grave.
“Hey, Pierce,” Rob said, approaching the agent. “Lousy night. That yours?” He pointed to the tarp over the lump on the grass.
“Yeah. I threw it over her—I know, I contaminated the scene, but hey—look at them.” He indicated the people milling around. “It’ll be harder to contain the information this time, but everyone’s still too stunned to take pictures—too stunned or too stoned. It doesn’t really matter as long as it doesn’t hit the web. Maybe, given the dim light, no one noticed her color either.”
Rob nodded. “Good move. A fourth body’s going to stir up the press as it is. No sense making it worse. She pink?”
Pierce nodded and opened the small notebook he carried. “Like cotton candy. She’s only been here a few hours. The maintenance man over there cut the grass late this afternoon. There are fresh clippings on the blanket.” He pointed to a group of people huddled in the gazebo that served as a band shell. “Those kids came into the park around seven thirty. They were busy drinking and smoking up and didn’t see anything. Two of them were heading into the trees for a make-out session when they found the body. Their parents are over there waiting to take them home. Do you want to talk to them here, or shall I have them taken back to Boston? It’s late, and a couple of the girls have been sick.”
Rob glanced over at the half-dozen teenagers wrapped in blankets. From the scowls on the faces of the adults with them, it looked like six kids might just be grounded for the rest of their lives.
“Let’s get their names and have their parents bring them into the city in the morning. Are the local cops going to charge them with anything?”
“They should, but stupidity isn’t a crime in Massachusetts. The kids had a couple of joints and a bottle of tequila. If finding a body doesn’t scare them straight, nothing will.”
“Agreed. I need to talk to the coroner and then get back to Boston. I’ve got another murder on my plate—a home invasion where the woman had her throat slit. I’ll see you at the precinct around eleven. Does that work?”
Pulling out his pencil, Pierce smiled. “Yup. I’ll get the names and head home myself. Any idea who cut your victim?”
“No, not yet. They’ve found a few fingerprints, but I doubt they belong to the perp. My former fiancée found the body. Just makes everything more difficult.”
“And awkward. I heard about your breakup.” Pierce chuckled. “Gossip is alive and well in Bean Town. How is the lovely lady?”
Something about Pierce tonight irritated Rob, but he knew his bad mood wasn’t really the man’s fault.
“As stubborn as ever. She may have caught a glimpse of the killer or some delivery boy who has nothing to do with anything. I’m bringing her in tomorrow to work with the sketch artists.”
“Really? Well, I look forward to meeting her. I’ve heard a lot about her Irish temper from the boys in vice.” He held up his notebook. “I’d better get to work. The coroner got here a little while ago. She promised to start on the body as soon as she gets it to the morgue. If we’re lucky, by ten tomorrow, we’ll know the victim’s name.” He waved at Rob and headed toward the gazebo.
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