Flowers on Her Grave
Detective Katie Scott #3
Genre: Crime Thriller
Date of Publication: March 28, 2020
Number of Pages: 328
On the floor, amongst the piles of freshly pressed laundry, lay the woman’s lifeless body, her pale yellow nightdress soaked in blood. “I didn’t do it…” came a whisper from the corner of the room.
Detective Katie Scott has never seen two people more in love than her aunt and uncle as they danced on the decking the night of their wedding anniversary party. But the next morning, when Katie finds her aunt’s body sprawled across the floor, that perfect image is shattered forever.
All fingers point to Katie’s uncle, Pine Valley’s beloved sheriff and protector – after all, his prints are all over the antique knife found at the scene. Grieving, but certain of her uncle’s innocence, Katie is consigned to the cold case division after she’s discovered searching the house for clues. Does someone want to keep her as far away from this investigation as possible?
Ignoring warnings from her team, Katie digs into her uncle’s old case files and discovers photographs of the body of a young girl found tied to a tree after a hike in search of a rare flower. Her body is covered with the same unusual lacerations her aunt suffered. Katie knows it can’t be a coincidence, but every lead she follows takes her to a dead end.
Moments before the sheriff is arrested, Katie realizes that a single piece of thread she found at the crime scene could be the missing link that will stitch old crimes to new. But how can she prove her uncle’s innocence without throwing herself directly into the line of fire? She doesn’t have a choice, he’s the only family she has left…
Detective Katie Scott returns in this third installment as the newly appointed head of the cold case unit within the Pine Valley Sheriff’s Office and she definitely has her work cut out for her! Following the murder of her aunt and with all fingers pointing to her uncle, Katie begins to piece together the clues that may not only vindicate him, but might also finally close the unsolved murder of a young woman.
Suffering from anxiety, PTSD, and panic attacks, this book brought fresh perspectives to Katie’s life as it built and added to her story as a veteran working in a high stress law enforcement position. She is still reeling from her time as a soldier and learning to adapt in a post-war environment. I greatly appreciated the insight into how Katie is working through her triggers with the use of professional therapy and seeking help from trusted friends. She is beginning to understand how important it is to ask for assistance, and that in doing so, she is not weak or a burden. Unlike the previous books, this one did not fill in the blanks as well for readers just entering the series, so I would definitely recommend starting with the first book to completely understand everything that is going on.
While I have consistently felt that Katie is an incredibly well developed character throughout this series, I will say that this book showcased just how detrimental her headstrong nature can be. She has never made apologies for how impetuous she is, but now she often came across as more of a rogue agent, blinded to anything other than finding her aunt’s true killer and saving her uncle’s reputation. Looking at the entire series as a whole though, she continues to be likeable and just vulnerable enough to make her more relatable to readers. Having served in the military myself as well as dealing with my own diagnoses of anxiety and PTSD, I greatly appreciated the level of authenticity presented throughout the story. There was never a moment when I didn’t believe or empathize with Katie’s struggles to cope with her previous experiences. Her emotions are so honestly expressed that readers regardless of their own experiences and emotions surrounding trauma can’t help but empathize with her circumstances and condition.
I cannot stress enough in my reviews that Katie’s character is a testament to the author’s level of research and the advisers she consulted in creating an authentic work of fiction that could be enjoyed by laymen. You don’t have to have a background in criminology to recognize how well written these stories are. Additionally, Katie’s character provides the strong representation that service members and law enforcement officials greatly appreciate seeing reflected across all media formats.
Fast-paced chapters keep the tension and suspense mounting until the very unexpected end. This series continues to be a great example of what a compelling police procedural should be! The plot grabs your attention, but the author’s deft storytelling keeps the pages flying! I will say however that this time around when the dialogue and interactions between characters moved into friendly banter within scenes far removed from any criminal activity, it felt contrived and awkward.
Katie’s work in the Army as an explosives detection dog handler allowed her to bring her retired dog, Cisco, to the department as her canine partner. I felt the previous books displayed their bond better, but this one provided more understanding into the work that he now does for the Sheriff’s office and more information on his continued training. Regardless, their connection is undeniably beautiful to read about and highlights the exceptional and important work dogs provide to humans.
I continue to be such a fan of how the author uses her experience with criminal behavior to craft such compelling cases and characters from aspects of both the investigative and criminal sides of law enforcement. She masterfully captures the realism that only someone with so much insight in the field would be able to express. The use of forensics and profiling make this a riveting read that will satisfy any fan of true crime or crime thrillers. Her books are completely underrated and an absolute steal for the quality of writing she delivers every time!
Detective Scott is a force to be reckoned with that’s for sure, and I certainly hope we haven’t seen the final chapter.
Many thanks to Pump Up Your Book Blog Tours and the author for providing me with a copy of this book for free. This is my honest and thoughtful review.
Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning and best-selling crime fiction author, as well as a consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent psychopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling. She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists, and member of the International Thriller Writers.
Many thanks to Pump Up Your Book Blog Tours and the author for providing me with a copy of the book! It was a pleasure reading, reviewing, and hosting! And be sure to check out the other stops on the tour for more opinions and extras!