Series: Midnight #4
Published by Montlake Romance on January 3rd 2017
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In Wall Street Journal bestselling author Melinda Leigh’s edgy new thriller, Louisa Hancock thought she was safe…but there’s a new killer in town.
When a mysterious package lands on Louisa Hancock’s doorstep, the Philadelphia museum curator can hardly anticipate the nightmare that’s about to envelop her. The package is addressed to her father—an expert in Viking culture—and inside is a ninth-century sword, a chilling thank-you note, and photos of two dead bodies in a tableau evoking a Nordic funeral. The gruesome images match a recent crime scene. But before the police can investigate the killer’s connection to Louisa’s father, Ward Hancock vanishes.
Sports bar owner Conor Sullivan wants nothing more than to spend his life with Louisa. Devoted and protective, he refuses to leave her side after her father’s disappearance. When a troubled young boxer he’s been coaching is suspected of the murders, Conor is pulled in even deeper. Desperate, Louisa and Conor take it upon themselves to find her father, but soon another ritualistic slaying makes it clear there’s a Viking-obsessed serial killer on the loose. And he has a new target: Louisa.
A spate of murders based on Viking rituals somehow involves Louisa Hancock once again, not long after the trauma she suffered at the hands of a deranged killer a few months ago. Similar to ‘Midnight Betrayal’ in format, ‘Midnight Obsession’ delivers the same thrilling ride, with the key difference being that Louisa and Conor are an established couple here, even if their hard-won HEA in the previous book comes with more bumps along the way. That said, it’s definitely good enough as a standalone, though reading the previous installment would definitely provide a fuller picture both Louisa’s and Conor’s history.
The romance certainly isn’t quite the focus here—there is no relationship conflict or angst to get through—leaving the suspense and gang-wars to drive the narrative. Yet Melinda Leigh writes Conor and Louisa in a fashion where there’s mutual admiration and much loved-up feelings on both sides, leaving us with no doubt that their relationship is rock-solid through this ordeal. The pacing as well, is steady, without dramatic lurches from breathlessness to sluggishness, perhaps it’s a little slow at the start but it picks up as each murder and/or tragic event start piling on top on one another as the noose tightens around Louisa and Conor. But because the story’s pretty light on the romance, I had expected more gore or at least a greater immersion in the Viking rituals already laid out in the plot; instead the book doesn’t quite deliver these, yet what it does however, is reaffirm the rightness of this couple with many statements on how far they’ve come with each other, right up to the very end.
A huge part of the draw in reading mystery/crime novels is the wild goose chase we’re led on as we’re teased about the identity of the suspect. Leigh does this and more, but most importantly, I felt as though I’d had an entertaining time.