📚Their Burning Graves (Detective Morgan Brookes Book 8) by Helen Phifer

They are picture perfect. A young, happy family sat around the kitchen table. But no one moves as wisps of smoke filter into the room and the house becomes a burning grave around them…

When reports come in of a family trapped in a burning house, Detective Morgan Brookes rushes to the scene. But as soon as she enters the ruined home, she is devastated by what she finds. Tied to the kitchen table, Sally and David Lawson, and their young son, had no chance of escaping the flames and the smoke…

Neighbours all agree the Lawsons were the perfect family, and CCTV shows nothing suspicious. Morgan’s only clue is the silver crucifix necklace around Sally’s neck. Because according to friends, she wasn’t religious. Was someone passing divine judgement on this mother and her family?

Focusing on Sally’s last steps, Morgan gets the breakthrough she needs – just days ago Sally had confided in a friend that she felt someone was watching her. And when Morgan finds photos of Sally on her neighbour Luke’s phone, all the pieces slot together.

Only then another local woman reports feeling watched. Nothing seems to link her to Luke, but Morgan can’t ignore it. Could the killer still be out there? Going deeper into Sally’s past and uncovering the killer’s motivations is her only chance to save more innocent lives, but can she solve the twisted puzzle in time?

Another racing murder in the Morgan Brookes series. In this, book 8, we have complicated events to unravel and of course, Morgan is right in the middle of things.

I was glad to see the characters, not ‘bounce back’, but certainly move on from the events of book 7 and I appreciate the author acknowledging what had passed and allowing the characters to naturally work their way through things.

I’m so happy that Cain is now a permanent member of the team as I have so loved his character through the series and he added a much needed element of comfort and humour to the team.

With the murders seeming more complex we actually get to see Morgan flustered and see more of her struggling to put 2-and-2 together rather than solve things first time. It was nice to see Morgan get ’emotionally involved’ with one of the characters here because I think I associate Morgan more with being a strong badass detective. It was good to be reminded of the other side of her.

For the first time in the last three books, Marc wasn’t an active character. I’m a little too suspicious to believe he won’t return in some capacity. However, since book 7, I do have more understanding of his character so perhaps, his return would surprise me.

In book 7 I spoke about the killer reveal being a character we had little contact with. Here its more complicated because we did have killer POV chapters but they always referred to themselves as they/them and didn’t give a lot away. Once the pieces started falling into place it all made sense.

I’ve had ups and downs with this series. Points that I’ve loved and points that have frustrated me. However, I really enjoyed this book and I did read it in a couple of hours. It’s my first read of 2023.

I give this book: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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