Synopsis and Details:
Senior Investigator Shana Merchant has spent years running from her past. But she never imagined a murder case would drive her to the most dangerous place of all–home.
After leaving the NYPD following her abduction by serial killer Blake Bram, Shana Merchant hoped for a fresh start in the Thousand Islands of Upstate New York. Her former tormentor has other plans. Shana and Bram share more than just a hometown, and he won’t let her forget it. When the decades-old skeleton of Shana’s estranged uncle is uncovered, Bram issues a challenge: Return home to Vermont and solve the cold case, or the blood he spills next will be on her hands.
As Shana interviews members of her family and the community, mining for secrets that could help her solve her uncle’s murder, she begins to realize how little she remembers of her childhood. And when Bram grows impatient and kidnaps again, leaving a trail of clues Shana alone can understand, she knows his new victim will only survive if she wins the psychopath’s twisted game. In order to solve one mystery, Shana must wade into her murky past to unravel another.
Series: Shana Merchant #2 | Genres: Contemporary, Crime, Mystery, Thriller | Release Date: December 08, 2020 | Publisher: Berkley Books | Pages: 352 | ISBN: 978-0593097915 | ASIN: B086SDGZL3 | Format: ARC | Source: NetGalley
Review with Rating:
The Dead Season is the second book in the Shana Merchant series and this story is an intriguing police procedural filled with deception, secrets, and coming to terms. After everything that went down in the prequel, Death in the Family, Shana has been on suspension and, at the start of this story, she is finally nearing the time when she will be able to take a mental status exam that will decide the future of her career. Shana herself is in a much better place, mentally, but her progress will face extreme challenges because in The Dead Season, Shana has to face her past as well as bring certain facts to light that could compromise her future.
The focus of The Dead Season is primarily on a cold case that involves Shana’s estranged family member. The discovery brings Shana back to her hometown, with a little added pressure from her past tormentor, and while there Shana begins to realize that she is being dragged into a game that she wants no part of. While at home poking into the case of the bone discovery there is an abduction that takes place that has the two cases coming together for Shana. Which only adds to the mounting pressure on her to connect the dots she wishes she did not have to. It seems that Shana knows so much more about the serial killer that had previously held her prisoner than she ever let on.
What I love about this story was that it expanded on Shana’s background. I liked discovering more about her and her past. The reveals in The Dead Season really opened up her character for me and I was able to better understand her and what motivates her. Though, I will say that I enjoyed the first book in this series more. This story is well written and carries with it a bit of a thrill but I felt that the tension was off. I never felt the ratcheting tension that would cause this to be a page turner for me. The clues to the mystery were spaced out between the family drama that was occurring and that had the pacing feeling sluggish for a while. Overall, though, The Dead Season was an intriguing story that had chilling moments with a true psychopath and a cop who was willing to do whatever it takes for justice.
*Thank you to Berkley Prime Crime & NetGalley for this eARC of The Dead Season*
This review is based on a complimentary book I received. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.