The Little Grave by Carolyn Arnold

Title: The Little Grave (Detective Amanda Steele #1)

Author: Carolyn Arnold

Published on: 11 Jan 2021

Genre: Mystery and Thrillers

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Rating: 4 out of 5.

Detective Amanda Steele receives a call from her best friend/fellow cop saying Chad Palmer is dead in his motel room. Chad Palmer was responsible for killing Amanda’s daughter and husband five and a half years ago. He was released from prison three days ago and now, he’s dead.

Amanda’s boss agrees to put her on the case provided she gives him an alibi. This might be a tad difficult for Amanda as she was with an unknown man in a motel room (one night stand, no strings attached) at the time of Chad’s death. As she continues to dig deeper into Chad’s past, she makes a shocking discovery…

The Little Grave is the first book in Detective Amanda Steele police procedural series by Carolyn Arnold. When we are first introduced to our protagonist, Amanda, I was like – why is she so rude to everyone? Soon, we are told of Amanda’s past – how she lost her husband and only child and how this trauma affected her relationship with the rest of her family, and much more.


We all deal with grief in a different way, don’t we? It might be easy to say – keep yourself busy and you will forget the hurtful things that happened to you. But it doesn’t work that way – speaking from experience, of course. Time heals, yes. But don’t set a limit for it. Some might heal faster, while some won’t…

Throughout the story, we see Amanda having flashbacks – the happy moments she had with her daughter, followed by the deep, dark emotional turmoil that’s slowly pulling her into an abyss. Amanda is paired with a rookie named Trent. He will lead the case and Amanda will be his partner (second) – but this is only for the records while in real, Amanda will be leading the case.

As a first in the series, the emphasis is on Amanda’s emotional growth rather than the mystery. The suspense and tension is present throughout, no doubt about that. We also have a twist halfway through the story – the shocking discovery I mentioned in the synopsis.

The ending is mind-blowing. I certainly did not see it coming – the identity of the killer was a HUGE shocker. Overall, The Little Grave is an engrossing thriller. As the story ends, we do see Amanda making an effort to come out of her trauma. As a first in the series, this book has captured my attention and I am looking forward to reading more of Amanda’s adventures.

I received an ARC from Bookouture and Netgalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.

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