Her Final Hour
Gina Harte #2
by Carla Kovach
DI Gina Harte and her team investigate the murder of Melissa Sanderson, who seemingly had an ideal marriage, a perfect house, and a darling two-year-old daughter. At the same time, Ellie Redfern has returned to Cleevesford to confront the demons of her past. As these two cases converge, and Harte is attacked by an ominous man in a forensics suit and red mask, the investigative team wonders what is behind the veil of perfection portrayed by Darrel Sanderson, Melissa’s widow, and his friends.
This is the second book in the DI Gina Harte series, and the members of Harte’s team are the same, but it is not necessary to read The Next Girl to understand the plot. Gina is a determined, scrappy detective who was abused in a past relationship. I was thankful that her daughter, Hannah, was less present in this book because I found her annoying and unsympathetic in the previous entry to the series. When Melissa’s autopsy shows signs of past abuse, her history comes to the fore and provides even greater motivation for her to solve the case. Her co-workers, DCI Briggs, DS Wyre, DS Driscoll, and DS O’Connell receive little characterization.
The crimes themselves are creepy and somewhat intriguing, though what ties the cabal of friends surrounding the murder is not explained enough to fulfill my curiosity. I found the book an easy “clear the palate” read, but some aspects of the writing were not to my taste. For example, there are several sections with long lists of questions, and if you read my reviews, you know this is one of my biggest pet peeves. I also found that some of the writing was undeveloped with characteristics including not using contractions in dialogue when it would be appropriate, overlying on phrases like “how dare you!,” or having characters engage in knee-jerk reactions to anger or frustration with violence or thoughts of violence.
If you are looking for a quick, non-taxing read, Her Final Hour might be for you. Otherwise, there are more sophisticated options in the genre.
Thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for providing an advance reading copy in exchange for an honest review.