Fatal Secrets by Anita Waller

It’s my stop today on the blog tour for Fatal Secrets by Anita Waller. Many thanks to Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for the tour invite.

Title: Fatal Secrets (Forrester Detective Agency Mystery #1)

Author: Anita Waller

Published on: 8 February 2023

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers | Police Procedural

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Fatal Secrets is the first book in Anita Waller’s Forrester Detective Agency Mystery series.

The story begins with a flashback of Dave Forrester and his partner Johnny chasing a most-wanted criminal. They reach the spot where the PCs have stopped the perp’s car. But when Dave goes close by, he sees the car empty. Before he could turn to his partner, he’s shot. The doctors try their best to save Dave but it comes at a cost. Dave is disabled and his dreams come to a standstill. It’s now up to his son Matt to follow his footsteps.

Matt Forrester and his sister Hermia are at the Sheffield Wednesday when Matt receives a phone call from his dad. Dave says “help” and goes silent. When Matt arrives at his dad’s detective agency, he finds his dad and partner Johnny lying on the floor. Dave is beyond help while Johnny is barely alive.

Matt’s boss is his ex-wife’s lover and he doesn’t make things easy for Matt. Matt isn’t allowed to investigate his father’s murder so Matt does the unexpected – resigns from his job so that he can solve this case on his own.

What a fantastic series debut! I was hooked on to the story and could not put it down until the end. This fantabulous debut has a perfect blend of character introduction, mystery, series-plot setting and scene setting. I absolutely loved every bit of this story. Anita Waller is a master storyteller, no doubt about it.

When Dave is found murdered and his detective agency partner/best friend is left to die, Matt wonders if this has something to do with one of Dave’s former cases. But as Steve and Matt start digging deeper into the case, they learn that someone close to them is in grave danger.

Apart from the murder mystery – which had a pretty mind-blowing conclusion, I also loved the main characters’ side stories. Matt’s then-wife cheated on him – he caught his boss pants down with the wife, in their bedroom no less! And now, the jackass boss doesn’t let Matt investigate his father’s murder case. Then there’s DS Karen – Matt’s sleuthing partner – and she wants to be more than just a sleuthing partner. *wink* Matt’s sister Hermia too seems to find love – at times it felt like grief brought a lot of people together.

When it becomes clear that someone close to Matt is in grave danger, things turn tense. They must be protected at all times and a slip-up might result in their death, which Matt cannot have.

At times, this didn’t feel like a series debut. It felt like I have been following this series for a long time and this was the next installment. Absolutely brilliant storytelling and character development. Multiple twists in the second half of the story made it difficult for me to identify the killer before Matt could. So, if you are like me and love to play sleuth, do yourself a favor and give your deerstalker hat a break. Sit back, chill, and let Matt and friends do the sleuthing. Have a cuppa.

If you are looking for an engrossing and intriguing police procedural, I recommend you to give Fatal Secrets by Anita Waller a try.

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