📚15📚One Left Alive by Helen Phifer (Kindle)

A gentle breeze blew her blonde hair across her face, her glazed eyes staring blankly into the sunset. Her small frame looked lost hanging from the large oak tree. On the branch next to her was a worn child’s rope swing. She looked too young and beautiful to be dead.

When the body of a woman is found hanging from a tree in her front garden, rookie Detective Morgan Brookes is first on the scene. But Olivia Potter is past saving. And when her husband and daughters cannot be traced, Morgan knows there is more to this tragedy. And then she finds them. Lying huddled together in the dark basement, each of their faces covered with a small cotton cloth, their bodies cold to the touch.

But as Morgan kneels beside the family, she realises that one of the girls is still breathing. As she holds Bronte’s fragile hand in hers, begging her to hold on, she vows to find out who has done this.

Every day Morgan wakes at 4.25 a.m., her old insomnia now mixed with a new fixation on the case. But every clue about the murdered family leads to a dead end. Until, trawling through old files, she discovers a link to a cold case from years ago. Another family was found murdered, their innocent faces covered with white cloths.

When Morgan returns to the scene of the crime to discover more about this forgotten case, she finds another body. With Bronte still unconscious in hospital, Morgan must act fast to solve this case before the killer returns for the girl left alive…

Stepping back into the world of Helen Phifer is like greeting an old friend. This new series centres around Morgan Brookes and her stumble up the police ladder and into solving murders.

Surviving the current British heatwave, this was a welcomed distraction. I read this in 5 hours and not only was I taken on a wild ride, but I successfully managed to ignore my brewing migraine for the majority of reading time.

I like Phifer’s writing because it feels natural. I never feel like the characters are going beyond their means and there is always a significant effort to ensure character development. I quickly warmed to the character of Morgan, liking her curiosity and drive. I found comic relief in Amy and both emotion and tension in Ben. As a trio they compliment each other well and I can see the developing characteristics that will surround them in the future.

This book kept me guessing, I had so many different theories about who the culprit was. I know the reveal of the culprit varies from author to author, but I’ve read so many crime books now that I rarely count anything out.

Now this isn’t bad, but in going through all my possible culprit theories throughout reading, I was almost miffed with the reveal because it was someone, I’d thought about but dismissed because I thought it was too obvious and cliché.

However, I’m still impressed that Phifer managed to bury the lead so well that I’d discounted the character at being involve at all.

There are a further 2 books in this series which I already have ready to read. I always remember fondly that Phifer was the first author I read when I joined Kindle, so she’ll always hold a special place in my book heart.

There is one character who is featured in the first third of the book and there seems like something is going to come of them, but they seem to disappear and remain unmentioned as the story gains traction and more action appears. It’s the only point that felt a little odd and unfinished to me.

I give this book 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

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