A computer program and game are at the heart of this mystery novel. Tye Harden is found dead in his garage apartment but did he commit suicide or do someone kill him? No one seems to be able to get a handle on just what would cause him to take his own life. A computer project, a video game is what someone wanted to steal. His partner Quint found him and from this point on we get to know her and Detective Jo Wyatt as they butt heads, compete and hopefully will finally come to some common ground to find out what happened to Tye. Both have brash and crass personalities and Quint wants to enlist Jo’s help because someone is stalking her. Not believing that she is being threatened their interactions are not what a typical police detective would allow nor deal with. Both Jo and Quint hate to be wrong and Jo after meeting with her close friend Aiden and talking out the situation, realizes that Quinn’s concerns are real but will they come to terms to work together before someone else is killed?
The detectives she works with give her the razz when her soon to be ex gets promoted not caring how they make her feel. She is sharp, yet often too blunt and the character seems to want acceptance but first she needs to accept herself.
The case takes on many directions when Jo pumps into the DA’s wife and learns about her son’s suicide. Derek and They were working on the same project and both for some reason took his own life but why?
Three names ring out related to this case: Tye, Ronny Buck and Quinn Kirkwood. Added in Alice Walsenberg who is Derek’s mother who we later learn had a relationship with Tye that displeased his family. Alice formed the Echo Valley Alliance for Life which was a suicide awareness program and had taken a liking to Quinn. Learning about her past and the fact that her mother was a police captain and killed in the line of duty, Alice felt Quinn would be perfect for this job as her liaison. Replaying what might have happened to Tye the author reminds us that he wanted feedback on game he created and designed. He hit up with both Ronny and Quinn and then Ronny wanted Derek added. Derek was in high school and both he and Tye developed more than just a friendly relationship. Tye and Derek has something special but if he broke it off was that the reason Derek killed himself too. And Tye died on the anniversary of Derek’s death. Quinn disliked Ronny but something happens on the night that she is supposed to work at the resort with Alice Walsenberg, whose husband is the DA. Was the game created by Derek the epicenter of his death? Quinn was receiving threats and emails, and someone was targeting her too.
Jo faced other demons and her father was the most critical of her and never gave her the proper respect or credit for being a thorough and good detective. With her partner Squint, whose opinion she values that went through the files, videos, picture and more to determined just what the chain of events was but the Chief places roadblocks in her way.
Quinn and Jo had sort of a love/hate relationship each one trying to outdoor the other yet both having something in common: Acceptance for who and what they are and the need to be judged fairly. Quinn and Jo were developing a rhythm and she realized that social medic sides were tracked, discussion boards infiltrated and then go back over the items collected at the Horton scene. Not only that put Quinn’s professor, but Lucas also had his own and what he did to get Quinn just where he wanted her is shocking. But, Jo was determined to prove that Tye was killed and the night of the event at the resort, Quinn works with Alice, her husband the DA is drunk, knocks on her door and she realizes she has to get out fast. Ronny Buck is there and working security and when both are on the same road one would not survive. Who wanted Ronny dead? Accident or murder? Trying to convince the Chief that the DA’s son , Derek’s suicide the precious year, after he, Ronny and Quinn were involved in testing a video game created by Tye Horton. Why did the DA lie about knowing Tye and why did he run all three names in the national and statewide data basis?
Lies, deceptions, hate, revenge, and someone sending Quinn insulting and threatened emails related to gaming? Who was behind this deception? During the fundraiser Jo spoke with the DA Zach Walsenberg about his son and his relationship with Derek. But someone tampered with Ronny’s truck and then things escaladed when the killer left Quinn on final clue which sends Jo on a quest for answers and putting it all together with the help of one person you would never expect.
When Quinn is kidnapped by the killer and the killer faces off with Jo, why does the killer justify the end results? A final scene that is tension filled, a police detective who has a choice to make: Kill the murderer or hope to take this person down. Lives are at stake; Quinn is at the mercy of this person but a startling twist changes it all.
When the killer is revealed and she returns to the station the respect she deserves is finally receive but where will she remain in Echo Valley, Colorado or take the offer to join the FBI? What is next for her and will her father ever admit that she’s tough, brash, crass but great at her job and maybe the next promotion might be hers?
A storyline strong, tension filled and the issue of being gay and family acceptance is at the heart of this novel.
Author M.E. Browning penned a novel with outstanding police procedure described using her experience as a former police captain when describing the procedures need to assess a crime scene, the proper warrants and more.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews
This book is going in my queue for 2021