Justice for Sara - Erica Spindler

A pretty good mystery that progressively unveils the ugliness of the main character's small-town past, and thereby manages to maintain some suspense even though the author writes the chief villain in such a manner that I for one found him immediately suspicious. It's a portrait of the envy that the wealth of Kat, and her murdered sister Sara, aroused, and a critique (perhaps partially unintentional) of their privileged obliviousness; born to riches, they wanted to be "just folks", thought that everyone accepted them, and never saw how desperate other people could be to acquire money or hang on to it once they got it.

 

However, it's chiefly marketed as romantic suspense, and on that side, I think it's a failure. The romance between Kat and the local acting chief of police is tepid, and his immediately crossing her off his list of suspects because he just has a feeling she's innocent makes him seem unprofessional; in general, his professionalism isn't real impressive in this book, ironic since he's fighting with his father (the former chief) over the elder's poor conduct as an investigator.

 

Furthermore, Kat has an exasperating habit of dashing out to confront suspects or snoop through their house without informing either her-boyfriend-the-cop or anyone. Once is understandable, given her white-knight complex for getting her sister justice, and her (fast-vanishing) naivety, and her disregard for personal safety. However, three times is unforgivable, especially when the first two times she admitted in hindsight that she'd been unwise. Three times seems like authorial laziness in coming up with ways to put the heroine in peril, and not reasonable character development; Kat isn't really that stupid. Okay, the third time she sent a message to the chief when she was just about to break into the villain's house; not that much of an improvement.