I was browsing the mystery offerings on NetGalley in search of something different (translation: not my usual cozy fare) and spotted Damaging Secrets, the first book in a new series from Carolyn Ridder Aspenson, featuring Detective Rachel Ryder. This interesting police procedural/thriller releases today!
New to town and a little rough around the edges, Detective Rachel Ryder finds herself on the receiving end of a suspicious person’s call in Hamby, Georgia. When the call turns out to be a dead body, the medical examiner is quick to rule the death a suicide. But was it something more sinister?
Everyone in the small department believes the case is closed—except for Rachel. The sudden passing of a local politician during the mayor’s run for Congress strikes her as a little too coincidental, and Rachel is eager to follow her instincts. Her partner, Rob, a 30-year veteran, isn’t the type to disobey his boss or ruffle any feathers, but he can’t convince strong-willed Rachel to let it go.
Obsessed with finding out the truth, Rachel begins to examine the evidence and drags her reluctant partner along for the ride. But the clues are confusing. Nothing is adding up.
Puzzled and running out of time, Rachel and Rob rush to work every angle and bring the elusive killer to justice before someone else ends up dead.
*as appears on Amazon
Rachel Ryder is a strong, complex female character. The seasoned Chicago detective is having a hard time adjusting to life in a small town in Georgia where the “old boys” club rules and male chauvinism runs rampant. Her in-your-face, outspoken approach is at times annoying and it is easy to see how she manages to alienate the chief of police, the mayor, and her fellow officers when she insists that the deceased, a prominent citizen, did not commit suicide. Of course, the fact that she’s a woman plays no small part in their reactions. Still, she is relentless in her determination to uncover the truth, despite orders to leave it alone. Her partner, Bishop, is a good guy, who is hesitant to defy orders, but she gradually wins him over. Their relationship grows as they establish mutual trust. They make a good team. No spoilers here, so suffice it to say that the plot had a good level of complexity and enough tension and twists to keep those pages turning. A commendable start to a new series.
FTC disclosure: I received an advance review copy of this book. This has not affected the content of my review in any way.