Book Review: Murder Notes by Lisa Renee Jones
I'm gonna stop you right here and say that if you haven't read Murder Notes, the first book in this series, go back and read that one first. Otherwise, you'll find yourself stepping into the middle of a well established narrative with no idea what's going on or who the players are.
I've recently been reading quite a bit of crime fiction centred around female protagonists (Kendra Elliott’s Mercy Kilpatrick and Loreth Anne White’s Angie Pallorino being notable examples) and picked this up for review assuming it was in the same vein: a book in a series about the same protagonist which should nonetheless stand on its own. This, however, is more what I'd call serialized fiction. There isn't a complete narrative arc in a single book: you have to read the whole series to get any one part of the story resolved.
And I'm going to have to say I don't particularly care for it. Comparing to TV series, those other books are like episodes of Law and Order: it really doesn't matter too much what order you're watching in. This? Is like starting Game of Thrones at the Red Wedding. There's a lot of action and it's all very exciting, but you won't have a clue what's going on. Or who the ‘good' and ‘bad' guys are.
Talking of the characters, Lilah Love is an incredibly broken character to have as an FBI profiler. With bodies literally buried in her wake and an ex/current boyfriend who may or may not be head of a cartel, I honestly can't see her passing Quantico’s background checks, let alone being allowed to investigate a case where a body was found on said ex’s property.
I was actually more intrigued by Kane Mendez than by Lilah, who came off very self centred. Kane, on the other hand, was clearly putting her best interests above his own regularly, and I found myself fascinated as to why.
The problem, of course, is that we don't find out. This is the second episode in this serialized story, so there isn't any real resolution. Just more questions and setup for the next installment.
I'm sure it would make great television, possibly along the lines of Jessica Jones with a narrative arc over a dozen episodes or so, but as reading material, it just doesn't work for me.
I'm giving it three stars for being interesting and well written, but it really wasn't my cup of tea, and you should consider whether you like episodic fiction or not before choosing to read.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.