Book Review – “Beautiful Maids All in a Row” eBook was published 2016 and was written by Jennifer Harlow (http://www.jenniferharlowbooks.com). Ms. Harlow has published more than a dozen novels. This is the first in her “Iris Ballard” Thriller series.
I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence, Mature Language and Mature situations. The story is set in the greater New York area of the US. The primary character is former FBI profiler Dr. Iris Ballard.
Ballard has been out of the FBI for a while. She had a very successful career until one of the serial killers she had helped track down attacked her, stabbing her in the stomach. He used her husband’s arrival to force her out of a locked bathroom. The killer murdered her husband, but before he could turn his gun on her, she overpowered and the killed him.
With the attack and death of her husband hanging over her, she resigned from the FBI and is teaching at a small college. She is barely making it though each day, relying heavily on alcohol and drugs.
Out of the blue her old FBI partner, and the one man she ever cheated on her husband with, shows up to ask for her help with the stalled investigation of a new serial killer. She doesn’t want to do it as it brings up too many old memories, but she has had a falling out with her department head at the university. She will need the money and is promised that her participation will be low key.
It takes her a few days to get back into the routine, but soon she is turning up new leads. They are still without suspects, when she convinces herself that the murderer they are after is a successful, high profile well respected man. It soon becomes a battle of wills between Ballard and the suspect. Still with little evidence, it becomes a question of if he will escape justice.
I thoroughly enjoyed the 7+ hours I spent reading this 305 page Mystery Thriller. The Ballard character is a little rough around the edges, but she is a great profiler. I enjoyed reading about her. I thought that the plot was both fast paced and engaging. The cover art is a little odd, but a reasonable choice. This is a series I will look forward to reading more of. I give this novel a 4.5 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5.
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