Cross Her Heart (Bree Taggert #1) – Melinda Leigh

four stars black
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Montlake
Pages: 332
Release Date: March 17, 2020

A homicide detective’s violent family history repeats itself in #1 Amazon Charts and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Melinda Leigh’s novel of murder, secrets, and retribution.

For more than twenty-five years, Philadelphia homicide detective Bree Taggert has tucked away the nightmarish childhood memories of her parents’ murder-suicide…Until her younger sister, Erin, is killed in a crime that echoes that tragic night: innocent witnesses and a stormy marriage that ended in gunfire. There’s just one chilling difference. Erin’s husband, Justin, has vanished.

Bree knows how explosive the line between love and hate can be, yet the evidence against her troubled brother-in-law isn’t adding up. Teaming up with Justin’s old friend, former sheriff’s investigator and K-9 handler Matt Flynn, Bree vows to uncover the secrets of her sister’s life and death, as she promised Erin’s children. But as her investigation unfolds, the danger hits close to home. Once again, Bree’s family is caught in a death grip. And this time, it could be fatal for her.

I requested Cross Her Heart from Netgalley based on Karin’s Slaughter’s Bookbub recommendation. Based on that recommendation, I was expecting something similar to her Will Trent series but with a female lead. Cross Her Heart is not necessarily what I was expecting, though it’s too soon to tell.

Cross Her Heart has an enjoyable mystery. It’s nothing too dark or complex in and of itself though its implications for the main character, Bree, are significant. Leigh uses this opportunity to slowly unravel Bree’s past trauma and how it made her into the person she is today. Those moments are easily some of the best in the novel; I enjoyed them much more than the actual mystery.

The best way to describe the characters are wholesome. Bree’ partner, Dana, is a character of convenience for the plot and I think she will continue to be as the novels progress. Despite that, I enjoyed her few moments since she’s written as a reliable character.
Matt, the future love interest, is a retired cop with baggage of his own. The hint of a relationship in the last few pages of the novel feel out of place since there’s little to no set up throughout the novel. In Leigh’s defence, it’s hard to write a worthy romance in the middle of a murder that becomes the crux of the main character’s emotional well being and past trauma.

Overall, Cross Her Heart is an enjoyable mystery with wholesome characters. While the mystery wasn’t very dark or complex, I’m still looking forward to the sequel.

*** I received an ARC from Netgalley for an honest review.

Have you read Cross Her Heart? What did you think?

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