Shivering in the early morning chill, the caretaker flips the switch on the Ferris wheel and stumbles back in shock. The teenage girl’s body is slumped in a halo of pretty colored lights, long red hair spilling over her tear-stained cheeks, her eyes fixed forever on her dangling feet.
When teenager Nikki Jackson’s body is found at an amusement park, just hours after Fourth of July fireworks lit up the night sky, the Lost Creek police rule her death as suicide––a devastating final act from a girl who had lost all hope. But the absence of the knife used to make the wounds on her delicate wrists makes Detective Madison Harper think otherwise. And the partial fingerprint found on the girl’s face proves her right. Someone else was with Nikki in her final moments…
Back home in Colorado for the first time in seven years to investigate the murder of a woman with ties to the son she lost to the care system, the pressure is on for Madison to work both cases at once. Fearing the team has missed a vital clue, Madison searches the crime scene alone and finds the last thing she ever expected: a note proving the victims knew each other, and that the cases are linked. Is this a coincidence, proof a dangerous murderer is on the loose, or a trap set to lead Madison off the trail?
It’s only when Madison finally finds the knife used to harm Nikki, tucked in an almost impossible to find hiding place, that she knows she is closing in on a twisted killer. But the last person she expects to see dragged into the department in handcuffs is her own missing son…
Title: Cry for Help
Series: Detective Madison Harper #2
Author: Wendy Dranfield
Published: February 22, 2021
My Rating: 4.5 stars
Cry for Help is the second title in the Detective Madison Harper series, and if possible, this story kept me even more involved with Madison and Nate as they once again work together to solve a heinous crime, but also discover more about the past as well. I wasn’t expecting the series to get this increasingly intense with each story, yet the search for the truth of Nikki’s murder, the links found, and the personal revolutions for Madison kept me captured as I read this one long after I should have been asleep.
I try to give away even less about the core of a story when it’s a Mystery – that genre you should really be discovering clues and experiencing the mystery for yourself firsthand. Yet, all you really need to do before purchasing is read that cover description blurb to know that this is going to be an amazing journey to find a killer and answers.
While I’m a firm believer in reading any series from the beginning, if at all possible, Cry for Help could stand on its own in many ways as the reader is given enough background within the dialogue and narrative to fill in the major points necessary – I still believe you’d get more involved and have a deeper understanding of the characters if you’ve read Shadow Falls first… but that’s only an opinion, you do what works for you.
As Madison and Nate return to her hometown after learning of the death of someone once close to Madison, they’ll also be facing down the same police department that turned on Madison years ago, years spent in prison and having her son, Owen, placed in the foster care system. While Madison is still searching for her son, coming home isn’t the easiest thing she’s done but it’s necessary if she’s ever to find the answers she seeks.
There are connections in Cry for Help that will slowly be revealed, with lots of twists and turns along the way with the occasional red herring tossed in as well. This is a gripping, gritty Mystery/Suspense story, one that often asks more questions than we have answers for… yet. The action begins almost immediately, the killer is vicious and devious, the clues lead to unexpected places, there is the feeling of something just out of view waiting to pounce upon the reader as well. I was completely engaged in Madison’s return to her hometown. (as a side note: don’t read this in the wee small hours of the morning, in a quiet house if you have a cat – just take my word on that, talk about jumping out of my own skin! -thanks, Leia.)
We’re introduced to additional characters and it will be interesting to see if any will be in the next Detective Madison Harper novel – and I do need the next one, right now. This is a truly addictive series that can easily take over your imagination and your need to know more.
This review is vague on purpose (I ended up deleting about a third of this review as I was starting to tell the story and that is not allowed in my reviews). So, yes, this is a story that I easily got caught up in, that I wanted to talk about (but couldn’t), and I’m anxiously awaiting word on when the third story will be revealed to a now dedicated reader of this series. If you love a really good, chilling Mystery/Suspense story then you’ll want to pick up Cry for Help right now. You won’t regret it.
*I received an e-ARC of this novel from the publisher, Bookouture via NetGalley. That does not change what I think of this story. It is my choice to leave a review giving my personal opinion about this book.*
Available in paperback, audio, or your Kindle