It’s my stop today on the blog tour for Wendy Dranfield’s Catch Her Death, book #5 in Detective Madison Harper series.
Title: Catch Her Death (Detective Madison Harper #5)
Author: Wendy Dranfield
Published on: 9 September 2022
Genre: Mystery and Thrillers | Police Procedural
A young mother with a cranky baby is strolling through the supermarket aisles. Frustrated with the last minute Christmas shopping, she goes back to the car park when she hears a child’s cry. She walks to the car from which the cry’s supposedly coming from. When she peers in, she sees a small boy in the backseat and on the front is his mother… dead, with her head bashed in.
Detective Madison Harper is called to the crime scene. She is haunted by the fear in the young boy’s eyes, and vows to find justice for this innocent child who is left motherless just days before Christmas. Then, another murder happens. Again, a young mother is found murdered outside a church during midnight mass while her young son was making a snowman.
Seems like a serial killer is on prowl in Lost Creek, Colorado. The need to spare the child might hint to the suspect being a woman. But as Madison Harper starts to dig deeper she stumbles across a startling clue… a clue that might put her life in danger.
What a mind-blowing, spine-numbing, completely engrossing mystery with a jaw-dropping twist! I ab-so-lutely loved every bit of this book. This is the first Madison Harper mystery I have read and I cannot wait to catch up on the previous books. We readers are given a glimpse of what happened in the previous books – something to do with Madison’s past – so I had no trouble following the story or the characters.
I love police procedurals in which the serial killer challenges the detective in charge. Time’s-a-ticking and Detective Madison Harper must catch the killer before she becomes their next victim. Young mothers are being killed in front of their child just days before Christmas. The only piece of the puzzle that is quite clear to the police is that, the child (always a boy) is left unharmed. This makes the police wonder if the killer is a woman.
Madison lost her partner and waiting for the Chief to assign her a new partner. But when the new partner arrives, Madison is angry. Detective Adams has made a background check on her and when she tries to be friendly, he comments on her (past) conviction for manslaughter and imprisonment. Madison replies back saying she was framed and the people who betrayed her were caught. But he doesn’t seem to have an ounce of sympathy for her.
Madison’s father came back to Lost Creek after decades. He had left his family for another woman. Now he’s back and wants to reconcile. Though Christmas, he seems to be busy. And keeps his work a secret from Madison. Meanwhile, Nate, a PI that Madison met on one of her previous cases, tells her about Richie – a lawyer who helped Madison out of jail. Madison’s teenage son Owen wants to work under Richie for a couple of months.
We also have a flashback: Madison’s dad, Bill, was called to a scene of crime when he was working for the LCPD. A young boy was found near a pool of blood – his mother was brutally murdered. Then, Bill joined FBI and had to move to Alaska. It becomes very clear to the reader that the case that Bill couldn’t solve has come back to haunt LCPD and now, Madison is the detective in charge.
The second half of the story gets really interesting. Tension and suspense are at all all-time high. And so is Madison’s frustration about betrayal. Then, one of her close friends goes missing… Are they going to be the next victim? Madison hopes not.
I loved the storytelling. The mystery behind the serial killings kept me guessing till the end. I was so caught up in the red herring that… I did not realize it was a red herring until the end. 😉 Gosh, I was so sure this particular person had something to do with the murders. Hear me out: give your detective hat a rest and let Madison solve the crime.
The twist at the ending… MIND-BLOWING. JAW-DROPPING. The identity of the killer – shocking! I was like, wait… who? what? how? I could not believe they were the killer! Never saw it coming.
If you are looking for a gripping mystery with a shocking twist, I recommend you to give Catch Her Death by Wendy Dranfield a try.
Many thanks to Bookouture for the blog tour invite.