Thursday, October 11, 2018

Reason to Doubt (A Carol Childs Mystery Book 5)

Author:  Nancy Cole Silverman
Genre:  Mystery

Hardcover; Trade Paperback: Digital Book
ISBN: 9781635114256; 9781635114225
Henery Press Publishing
256 Pages
$29/46; $$14.90; $4.99 Amazon
November 6, 2018


Carol Childs is in the middle of one of the biggest stories of her life.  Her daughter Cate has returned from college with a boyfriend in tow.  A photographer who police suspect to be The Model Slayer, responsible for the murder of three young women.

Not since the Hillside Strangler has Los Angeles been so on edge.

And when the police arrest Cate's boyfriend, Carol's personal life and professional worlds collide.  A tattooed cocktail waitress calls the radio station and asks to speak with Carol off the record.  She knows the true identity of the real Model Slayer because she says she killed him.

Tensions mount as the clock ticks.  The police are convinced they have the right man.  Mother and daughter aren't talking.  Carol can't reveal to investigators all she knows, and unless Carol can find the real killer before the trial begins, an innocent man may spend the rest of his life in prison or be executed for a crime he didn't commit.


Carol Childs works for a radio station in Los Angeles as a reporter.  She's just met her daughter's boyfriend Pete, who's an aspiring photographer, and she thinks he's nice enough, but still worries that Cate is too young to be seriously involved with anyone.  Suddenly both her life and that of Cate's is upended.  Her daughter calls in a panic and says the police have arrested Pete as the Model Slayer - a man who has been randomly killing women and posing them around the valley.  Cate insists there's no way Pete could be the killer, but Carol doesn't know him well enough to decide.

Then she gets a telephone call and a woman tells her that Pete couldn't be the killer, because she'd already killed him.  When Carol meets with her, the young woman calling herself Xstacy explains what happened and how she knows Pete's not guilty - giving Carol information only the police know which strengthens her story.

Even though she's close to the situation because of Cate, she insists she's given the story by her boss and when she investigates further, she discovers that while Pete may not be guilty, there's an awful lot of evidence pointing to the fact that he is.  Will Carol be able to prove his innocence or will he go down for crimes he knew nothing about?  She now not only has to help her daughter, she has to protect her sources from both the police and a killer or lose everything...

I thoroughly enjoyed this fifth book in the Carol Childs Mysteries.  The writing is crisp, the story line original, and the characterizations of people and places fully dimensional.  You can almost sense Carol's angst against having to protect her sources against helping her daughter; while Cate doesn't truly understand what her mother is going through, she only knows that she loves Pete and wants him out of jail at any cost - and that brings the tension between them front and center.

We also have the return of Chase, a private investigator with a recent past with Carol, who's been hired to help any way he can, all the while still intimating that he'd like to continue where they left off.  The romance in the story is by no means overshadowing the mystery which is a good thing, but it is there nonetheless, and you can tell Carol is trying to keep him at arms' length while also trying to sort out her feelings for him and for her ex-boyfriend, an FBI agent who has temporarily entered her life - but on the other side for the prosecution.

The story moved along quickly, and while the descriptions weren't graphic of the dead women you still managed to imagine the horror in your mind, thinking of what they must have gone through before they were killed.  When there's another murder that hits close to home, Carol is even more desperate to find the killer before he finds her source and kills again, and it is in the last few chapters that it all comes to a head.

When the book is over and the killer is revealed it comes as a complete surprise; there were plenty of twists in the story and enough red herrings to keep one looking in more than one direction.  Ms. Silverman is a talented story teller who is able to grab one at the very beginning of a book and keep you on the edge of your seat right through the last page.  I have enjoyed each and every one of these books, and they are on my shelf as 'keepers.'  Highly recommended.


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