Wednesday, January 25, 2023

COLD DEAD NIGHT and BURN THE DAWN by Lisa Phillips, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney


"All I've got is me and all I trust is me, so I investigate by myself and find the victim because no one else is looking hard enough or in the right places."

That about sums it up. Kenna Banbury's solitary life as a private investigator is lived according to her own rules. Tossed out of the F. B. I. after being kidnapped by a serial killer, (the public view being that she had abandoned her partner, whose life was lost while she lived to tell the story. Nothing could be further from the truth.) Kenna had found new purpose and was only back in Salt Lake City to wrap up a case when she receives word that a murder victim has her calling card, positioned on his dead body. Coincidence? Absolutely not.

Certain that she is being framed, Kenna walks a fine line of cooperation vs. investigation with local law enforcement officers and her former F. B. I. colleagues, plus one; Special Agent Jaxton. Friend or foe? Time would tell . . . because this killer is bent on striking again . . . and again . . . and again.

A bit on the dark side for my taste, but admittedly this book proves its worth as a fascinating thriller. Kenna's angst and determination for justice to prevail is palpable through-out a number of frenzied scenes; the twists and turns are dizzying, and for the most part confusing . . . someone between these pages knows something, if only they could stay alive long enough to share it. Remaining light on elements of inspiration and romance, it's comforting to know that in the end, Kenna muses (albeit from a hospital bed) , "Was this it? Life. Friendship. People she shouldn't push away. People who cared for her." That's progress! Let's see what happens next as the series continues . . . 
*I purchased this book and was under no obligation to provide a positive review. 3.5 stars

BackCover Blurb:

The FBI betrayed her. Now they need her.

Private Investigator Kenna Banbury lost everything two years ago at the hands of a serial killer. From the ashes of that encounter, she’s built a life she believes in, searching for the lost and forgotten all over the western US.

Bringing her own brand of justice.

When a series of murders drags her into an FBI investigation, Kenna finds herself back in the place where it all went wrong. Struggling to make sense of the case, Kenna’s past and present collide in a deadly plot that risks another betrayal and threatens to shatter everything she’s built.

Kenna faces the darkest part of her past in this first book of a brand-new series from Lisa Phillips. 

"Once she found this missing young woman, things would feel a little more right. The world would seem a little more the way it should be rather than . . . The past had no bearing when a young woman's life hung in the balance."

Private investigator Kenna Banbury is trying very hard to put recent trauma behind her and use her well honed instincts to find a missing girl along the mountains trails that surround the small town of Bishopsville, California. After accomplishing that goal, the horrifying details of the young woman's detainment become exposed; Trudy is not the first local to go missing, nor will she be the last. Will Kenna decide to stick around long enough to help the very understaffed local law enforcement stop a dangerous string of abductions, or will she leave this town behind in her rear view mirror? It's already gotten a lot more complicated than she thought, for . . .

Kenna realizes that she has been in Bishopsville before, so when the local sheriff mentions a friendly connection with her deceased father, Kenna's radar goes up, for once again her past and present seemed coincidentally intertwined, until that connection is forever lost in the ashes.

Fast paced with a carefully constructed labyrinth of details, this clean thriller has only passing mentions of spiritual insights, but gives Kenna much to consider along those directions. 

BackCover Blurb:

A series of missing girls.

Weeks after she got shot, Kenna is back. She’s living free of a past that held her in the grip of fear, determined to move on—and keep fighting. This PI isn’t going to let anything keep her from finding the lost and broken.

A town in the grip of fear.

After a deadly setback, Kenna realizes the case is far more complicated than she first thought. With an elite organization in the shadows, Kenna has to solve the case while a powerful enemy dogs every step and the echoes of her past threaten to tear her apart.
Forced to hold it together long enough to find the latest victim, Kenna has to do the one thing she said she would never do again.

It’s the only way to bring her brand of justice.

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