Detective September "Nine" Rafferty, is seemingly the latest target of a serial killer when she receives a drawing she made in second grade with the words "Do Unto Others As She Did To Me" scrawled all over it. The same words that have been carved into the bodies of the last two victims, both who resemble her closely. During the course of the investigation, a third victim is found along with a link to Nine's past - Jake Westerly. Nine had a crush on Jake in high school, but he never paid her much attention, until he and his then girlfriend, Loni, broke up. One night together was all they had, but Nine's hopes for more were crushed when Jake went back to Loni.
Jake Westerly is back in town to check in with the family business, when he runs across Nine. It's not the reunion he had hoped for as he quickly learns that he's a person of interest in a murder case. Against her better judgment, Nine confides in him the personal twist in the case, and he not only becomes protective of her, he decides he's going to tag along and help her. He learns that the path to her heart is a rough one. One that may not lead to a future if they can't catch the killer closing in on her.
This was my first book by author Nancy Bush. The blurb absolutely caught my attention, and I was expecting the story to perhaps focus more on Nine and Jake's relationship, and the mystery/thriller part would flow alongside. The impression I was left with was the opposite. Nine is absolutely focused on her job, and she comes across as a little stiff (unless she has her repeating daydreams about that one night with Jake). Next to the wealth of information about the case, there's yet more information to digest about the highly dysfunctional Rafferty family. To put it into perspective, I counted around 30 characters, and those are the ones that I can remember. The character that really stood out was the villain. Sadly, most of the sex that happens in this book are his scenes.
I didn't find the chemistry between Nine and Jake believable. On their own, they were great characters, but together, not so much. Considering how much Jake had hurt her in her teenage years, she never once asked him whether or not the rumors that humiliated her were true. Jake didn't even take the first step and apologize. Perhaps he was too drunk back then to remember, but addressing the pink elephant in the room from either of them is something I expected to happen. Overall the story was good, but I was a little overwhelmed by too many characters and by the family drama playing off to the side. The ending sets up the next story, but I'm not sure if I would read it because it involves two characters I didn't really care about in this one.
Disclaimer: I received an ARC copy from Kensington Books via NetGalley. A review in exchange for the ARC was not promised. The views and opinions expressed in this review are my own, and in no way represent the views or opinions of the publisher/distributor.