Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Review Spotlight: An Unwilling Suspect by Jo A. Hiestand

GENRE: British mystery



McLaren’s fiancĂ©e tragically died one month ago. Trying to heal emotionally from her death, McLaren settles into a rented farmhouse in the woods near picturesque Lake Windermere, in Cumbria. But he’s barely had a chance to rest when Helen, the woman in the neighboring cottage, is killed…and is discovered near his front door.
Because McLaren had spent much of the previous day with her, and his snowy footprints lead to and from her house, he becomes the prime murder suspect in what the police label a frustrated romantic advance.

Motives for Helen’s murder are as chilling as the outdoor temperature. There’s the hands-on garage mechanic who’d like to put his hands all over her, the affluent fishing guide, and Helen’s former boyfriend who wanted to renew the relationship.

Can McLaren find the killer before the police jail him for murder?


An Unwilling Suspect (The McLaren Mysteries Book 7)An Unwilling Suspect by Jo A Hiestand
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A digital copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.

McLaren is our protagonist, who, when he loses the love of his life tragically, steers away from the usual cliche of drunken lamenting and chooses to retreat into a countryside cottage to mourn her loss, and recuperate his soul. However, his retreat takes him far from comfort and safety, as he finds himself entangled in a murder, landing as its primary suspect. The victim, Helen, is someone he had just started getting to know, and that too, with no romantic inclinations. Little does he know that his chivalrous acts of helping her with trivial things would result in such a massive strike on him. The investigator in him wakes up, and it's up to him now to find the culprit and free himself, and salvage Helen's death. He has a few suspects in mind, starting with Helen's ex-boyfriend and the crass garage mechanic. The hunter becomes the hunted and McLaren's clock is ticking. He is running for survival and he needs to finish his mission before time runs out.

For a thriller, the book comes laden with surprisingly many pieces of emotional tugs, which are refreshing. It's not all blood, gore and cruelty. The pace is just about right. I wish the non-protagonist characters were developed a bit more, to make the reader fathom their motives better, but the book doesn't lag behind on solid characters - McLaren's idiosyncrasies are endearing and you can't help but empathize with him.

If you're looking for a fast and captivating whodunit, this book is not to be missed!

My rating: 5 stars

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The room seemed to be devoid of air and incredibly hot. McLaren leaned against the edge of the table, trying to think of how to proceed. He’d wanted to avoid mentioning his former police days.

“I left the Force nearly two years ago, yes.” He could feel his throat constricting in his pent-up anger. He fought to keep calm.

“You didn’t tell us this.”

“I thought it had no bearing on Helen’s death. I didn’t cause it.”

“Look at this from our viewpoint, Mr. McLaren. We don’t know you. You arrive in Windermere this past Saturday. You’re a stranger. You become acquainted with this woman and she is found dead Sunday night, and dead practically outside your door. At least on your land. Now, if you, instead of me, were asking the questions, what would you think?”

“I’d think I needed to get more facts before I started labeling someone a killer. I’d think of talking to people she’d known for years and find out the histories between them and if there were any ill feelings in their associations. I’d think I needed a postmortem report to see how she died and where she died and if she’d been moved after death and if there was evidence of someone around her place or some clue on her body…instead of pinning this on a convenient tourist. That’s what I’d think!”


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

A month-long trip to England during her college years introduced Jo to the joys of Things British.  Since then, she has been lured back nearly a dozen times, and lived there during her professional folk singing stint.  This intimate knowledge of Britain forms the backbone of both the Taylor & Graham mysteries and the McLaren cold case mystery series.

Jo’s insistence for accuracy, from police methods and location layout to the general feel of the area, has driven her innumerable times to Derbyshire for research.  These explorations and conferences with police friends provide the detail filling the books.

In 1999 Jo returned to Webster University to major in English.  She graduated in 2001 with a BA degree and departmental honors.

Her cat Tennyson shares her St. Louis home.




Jo A. Hiestand will be awarding a $30 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
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