Title: Impact (Detectives Bodine and Fuller #1)
Author: Mark Mills
Published on: 4 July 2022
Genre: Mystery and Thrillers | Police Procedural
Florence Winslow wakes up in the hospital to learn she was in a car accident. The other car driver is dead. Florence cannot remember what happened. She was driving down a deserted country road at night when another car came out of nowhere and ploughed into her.
Accident investigator Dylan Bodine arrives at the crime scene. He has niggling doubt in his mind that the accident scene in front of him sounds constructed. Bodine is promoted from sergeant to detective and is assigned a partner – Detective Carrie Fuller. This would be Fuller’s last case. She’s in her mid-fifties and would retire soon after this case.
As Carrie and Dylan start to investigate, they meet Florence’s in-laws. A wealthy family with a bossy father on the death bed. Soon, it becomes clear that the accident was staged and Florence was meant to die that fateful night. The driver of the other car had no ID on him. Florence was estranged from her in-laws when her husband decided not to follow his father’s footsteps. So why did the family invite Florence out of the blue after many years?
This was quite an interesting police procedural. It did get a little tedious and boring almost at the end – there were times when I felt like Dylan and Carrie were running around in circles. Nevertheless, the mystery behind the ‘mysterious’ accident and interesting family dynamics kept me hooked on to the story till the end.
Dylan first visits Florence at the hospital. He’s being sweet to her while his partner plays the role of a bad cop. Dylan has visited the crime scene, after all, he’s an accident investigator and reconstruction specialist. He knows the accident scene looks too good to be true. Given the circumstances, it is quite a miracle that Florence hardly had a scratch or two.
We are then introduced to the Winslows. Quite a handful, this family. I had trouble remembering who’s who but as the story proceeds, only one or two play a major role. The story alternates between the investigation and a family member discussing how to ‘off Florence’. Someone in the family wants Florence dead.
Then comes a twist. Lyndon Winslow has cancer and has a few days left to live. He reconciles with his late son’s wife Florence. He apologizes for pushing them away from the family and not attending his son’s funeral. After a brief chat with Lyndon, Florence returns to her room to find a letter. It is from Lyndon and he has made changes to the will.
As the detectives investigate, they learn of Florence’s past. Her father was murdered and the man responsible for killing him had made threats to Florence too. Is it possible that the killer is now targeting Florence and wants her dead?
I loved the detective pair – Dylan and Carrie. Though they have a considerable age difference, they get along well. Dylan is also going through a crisis – something to do with his love life – and Carrie lends him an ear to rant about it. Then there is Alice, the attorney Lyndon hired for Florence. She portrays a tough and independent woman but her role throughout the story is questionable – though she’s hired to support Florence, Carrie has her doubts.
The first half of the story was really interesting and kept me guessing for more. The second, not so much. I felt the sleuthing and the chasing became a tad monotonous. The ending was okay. The identity of the perp was a shocker but the events leading up to the cops identifying them was so-so.
Overall, Impact by Mark Mills was an interesting read. I am not sure if this is a series debut. If so, I would definitely be waiting for the next installment.
I received an ARC from Joffe Books in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.
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