Publication Date: January 1, 2006
When a DVD turns up with a new scene - real murder - Detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano are on the case. Soon, the media gets wind of the murders and dubs the man The Actor.
In the meantime, Byrne is dealing with a monster from his past who comes back to haunt a woman in his life. Struggling to recover from his recent injury, Bryne has to make a difficult decision.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Date Read: October 27, 2018
I started this series at the beginning of the year and quickly found myself loving my new discovery. Finding a new mystery series that actually keeps me interested and throws me off is a really exciting things for me.
I've been listening to these books on Audible cause that's how I found them. And since I have the credits there, I figured I might as well keep listening to them. The narrator also does a great job, and I've had a great time listening to each of these books.
This is the lowest rated book that I've read in the series so far, mostly because I had a hard time with Byrne's actions throughout the book. Yeah, he usually makes a few bad or rash decisions, but this was one that I was just uncomfortable with. It made it hard to listen to his chapters at times because I wished he was making better or different choices.
The mystery itself was really good. Once again, I thought that I knew who the killer was, only to be completely thrown off. I liked how everything was woven together and how seemingly small things turned out to be interconnected. It made for a really fun read, and it also pushed me as a writer. Having written a mystery of my own, I enjoy seeing how other authors string together the pieces and details that eventually lead to the reveal. That's why I try to find mysteries that can actually force me to think about a wide range of possibilities and push me to think outside the box. Otherwise, it's too easy to figure out who the killer is.
One thing that I find myself enjoying a lot about this series is how Montanari is able to write from the perspective of so many different characters. There's usually about 3-6 of them in a book, and he does a great job of making their voices diverse. There's enough distinction that I can tell who is talking, and there's a clear characterization of each of the characters. They all have backstories, personalities, drives, aspirations, and desires. It makes each of them interesting to read about and it makes me want to follow in their lives more.
I had to listen to the end twice cause I fell asleep the first time (I listen to my audiobooks before bed and usually fall asleep before the end of the chapter). The second time around, I was really surprised by who the killer was and how things ended. It was really well done and completely unexpected. Everything suddenly made sense. It did frustrate me that the decisions Byrne made played out the way he wanted to, but I guess it'll make more sense to me later on in the series.
I wasn't the biggest fan of Byrne in this book. More often than not, I found his actions to be rash and stupid. He was acting on something that really had very little basis, and it somehow worked out for him. Well, it's a good thing because otherwise, he probably would have died. I really only hope to see him grow more in the next books, cause I like the point he's at when I first met him in Book 8.
I love Balzano. She's a great detective, a great woman, and a great mother. She tries her best, even when her ex-husband tests her limits and makes her question what kind of father she wants to bring into her daughter's life. I'm really looking forward to see her character grow, cause I know that she's really going to take on a bigger role in the department as the series goes on.
4 stars. I love this series and I think it's 100% worth picking up. You really don't have to start from the beginning, but I think it's going to the beginning cause you'll really have a chance to get to know the characters.