Regan Merritt is a former US Marshal who has returned home to Flagstaff, Arizona, having only recently decided to leave the service. After agreeing to be a guest lecturer for her former Northern Arizona University professor, she meets with one of his students following the session as a favor. Forensic major Lucas Vega has created a podcast, The Sorority Murder, for his senior capstone project and its focus is on the disappearance and murder of nursing student Candace Swain three years ago. He recently learned some information about the circumstances surrounding her death while interning at the morgue that might prompt listeners to call in with new information. Regan not only agrees to participate as a guest on his next episode but is impressed and intrigued enough with Lucas to assist him with the investigation and his project.
the heart of the story…
I was highly impressed with Lucas’ podcast and how he didn’t fall prey to developing lots of conspiracy theories or anything that wasn’t grounded in facts. I’ve read several stories where podcasts are the main thrust but this one was well done, more like following a police procedural. Regan was critical to his program, giving him invaluable guidance and, to his credit, Lucas took the coaching. But, it was obvious he was hiding something as were just about all of Candace’s former sorority sisters who were the last to see her before she disappeared and was found a week later. The lies and subterfuge were almost maddening but expected from teens and college students interacting with adults. It wasn’t even a question that they were lying but about what was the thing to discover.
Most of the characters in the story were young adults and the narrator seemed to capture their youthfulness without them sounding “young.” I could distinguish them easily and she paced the story extremely well, especially near the end. I’m glad I chose the audio format.
the bottom line…
Even though I’d pretty much identified the probable killer early on, I didn’t know why and the big secrets these young women were so desperate to keep hidden. That kept my interest though I thought the story took longer than it should. Regan emerged as an interesting character who I want to learn more about. She’s got plenty of baggage that had her leave the US Marshal service and return home. It only touches the surface and she still hasn’t figured out what’s next. I’m really glad this is now a series because Regan has skills I’d like to see in future investigations and follow her journey. It’s a strong start and I’m definitely in for the duration.
- Release Date: December 28, 2021
- Series: Regan Merritt #1
- Narrator: Amy McFadden
- Audio Length: 12 hours, 11 minutes
- Publisher: Harlequin Audio
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(Thanks to Harlequin Audio for my complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.)