đź“–Sleeping Dolls (Detective Morgan Brookes Book 6) by Helen Phifer

When a concerned neighbour reports a woman missing, Detective Morgan Brookes squeezes through the stiff front door to find the woman dead. At first, the case appears unsuspicious, but something about the scene unsettles Morgan. Every clock in the house has been stopped, every mirror covered, and the woman seems physically unharmed except for one missing lock of hair.

Shirley Kelly was loved by her friends and hated by her ex-husband and his new wife, but they have an iron-clad alibi, and Morgan is certain that the scene-staging holds a vital clue. She’s devastated to be proved right when another woman is killed, and her home arranged in the same way. The only difference is that the second victim has been stabbed, using a knife from Shirley’s own kitchen…

The team can’t find a connection between the two women, but Morgan is sure that there is a deadly pattern to the killer’s actions. She hunts through each woman’s past until she finds the link: years ago, they both worked for a woman called Evelyn Reynolds, before tragedy struck her young family. But what has made them targets now? Morgan knows this twisted case is far from over, can she find the final clue before the clock stops for the next name on the killer’s list?

Oh man! So, I pre-ordered this and I had such high expectations for the book. I’ve loved the series so far and I was ready for more intensely paced thriller action.

Here’s the thing. Well, actually there are 2 things. At the end of book five, the romance between Morgan and Ben had solidified and despite my reservations at their age gap – they work very well together. This book seems to have jumped MASSIVELY from them admitting to their feelings to be well into the honeymoon phase.

I feel like I missed out on that new romance story that I would have liked to have been included. It feels almost like there is a missing story between the end of book five and the beginning of book six.

The second thing was the plotline. Now, I usually get on with Phifer’s plotlines incredibly well. The thing with this plotline though, is that the set up was done so smoothly and captivating that when the final reveal actually had nothing to do with the crafted set up, the plot just fell short. It was like going for first place but getting second.

The plot itself was interesting but I don’t think it performs as well in the series. The other books had more intense plotlines and while it is good to have more sedate books in a series, this one just stood out for the wrong reasons.

There is a new man in charge, Marc, who honestly, I couldn’t tell if I was reading a genuine character, or someone set up to be a sarcastic trope.

There were interesting parts of the book and yes – it did only take me a couple of hours to read in one sitting. I see this book as a new direction for the series and the possible set up for some new things but I’m just not sure that it was carried out in the best possible way.

It’s like watching a fantastic series with 1 dud episode. I have very mixed feelings about this read as I’m sure you can tell.

I almost feel guilty for not enjoying it as much as the others because I am such a fan of Phifer’s work.

It’s always sad to find a dud in a series and I think the main reason I feel that way with this book is because the others in the series are so amazing that this one falls short massively. I’m still invested in the series, so this book didn’t put me off or anything but it did make me think a little more than was warrented.

I give this book: ✨✨✨.5

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