When the Serpent Strikes: A Cimarron/Melbourne Thriller - Book Two Kindle Edition
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I loved several things about this novel. It is a very easy read, flows great, and contains no wasted words. The detectives Rafe Melbourne and Dawn Cimarron are involved in 2 cases, each detective taking the lead on one. The first case involves a mass shooting in a library leaving only one survivor, a 13-year-old girl named Jolene whose character is particularly well drawn. The second case has been cold for 8 years and was originally led by Rafe’s now deceased uncle; it has to do the disappearance and suspected murder of a woman. Both cases really held my interest, but the second case is resolved in a particularly clever manner. As in the first book, When the Tiger Kills, we get not only good crime fiction, but also a good helping of family dynamics and interpersonal relationships, which to me, being a big lover of the personal elements of the characters, is a major plus. Oh, and it is NOT a romance, so no worries there, romance haters. I easily connected with the protagonists as well as with most members of Dawn’s extended family. The last scene of the story, taking place at the ranch where Dawn lived as a child, is very moving and gives us more insight into Dawn’s long-standing pain.
There are things that could be better. I would like to see more introspection on Dawn’s part, especially as she is working on the cases. I think the characters of her husband Tyrell and his best friend Brody are “too perfect” and should have more foibles. A lot of the characters have very unusual names (e.g. Gulkana, Garrone, Grangler, Klutina, Selawik, Davina Templor, Terramanni, Philippa Sorrenten, Innoko, Sokoto) that were sometimes difficult to keep straight. I would love shorter chapters. Actually all this is really minor stuff. My biggest criticism is the same I had for When the Tiger Kills and that is some of the dialog is unrealistic. This is usually in the setting of using dialog to give the reader past information. This would be better relayed in the form of 3rd person narrative in my opinion in order to prevent clunky conversation.
Overall, I really enjoyed my time with When the Serpent Strikes. I have become a fan of Ms. Prelatte’s work and will most definitely continue with the series!