Pros: Enjoyable serial killer mystery
Cons: Somewhat predictable
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Flashpoint is book one of the Sonora Blair Mysteries by Lynn Hightower. Sonora is a homicide detective. The latest killing in her area beggars belief: someone stripped a man, handcuffed him to the steering wheel of his car, tied him up, doused him in gasoline, and then set him on fire. Alive. Gradually the police realize they’re dealing with a female serial killer, and they rush to catch her before she can do it again.
The opening murder is gory, disturbing, and original–the darkest part, I’d say, of the novel. It doesn’t take long to start tracking the killer–this is less of a whodunit, focusing largely on finding and catching the killer before she can strike again. There’s plenty of mystery material, though, and quite a bit of suspense.
The characterizations are fairly complete; in particular Sonora’s fellow cops have plenty of personality. Even the ones that seem like stereotypes at first develop more dimension as they go. My only annoyance was the whole relationship between Sonora and the brother of the victim; it was so predictable in every respect (it didn’t help that I didn’t like the guy she was interested in). It seems like a lot of fictionalized female cops sleep with their partner and/or a witness ridiculously often.
There’s nice, zippy dialogue, and an entertaining “I have it worse than you do” conversation.
I enjoyed Flashpoint. It isn’t stunning, but it’s a solidly good read, and I’d be curious to see a sequel.
NOTE: Book provided free for review by publisher
Expected publication date: 10/27/2015