Series: The Texas Murder Files #2
Published by Berkley on 30th March 2021
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When former forensic photographer Miranda Rhoads moves to the seaside town of Lost Beach, she's decided to make her living as a wildlife photographer and put crime scenes behind her. But her plans are quickly upended when one morning, she comes across a couple sleeping in a canoe, entwined in an embrace. Looking closer, she realizes the man and woman aren't asleep--they've been murdered.
Detective Joel Breda sets out to find answers--not only about the unidentified victims in the marshy death scene, but also about the aloof and beautiful photographer who seems to know more about his investigation than he does.
As they begin to unravel the motivation of a merciless serial killer, Miranda and Joel must race against the clock to make an arrest before the killer can find them first.
As a former CSI, Miranda Rhoads’s move to the coast in the hopes of having a peaceful time doesn’t last long when she stumbles on a seemingly staged (and macabre) murder of 2 people. It’s a discovery that brings her back too closely to her old life just as a small-town detective whose intensity and confidence stir an attraction she doesn’t want to feel.
There’s much to like about Griffin’s writing, which is what brings me back over and over (and quite eagerly so) to her: the clear, concise descriptions, the perfect use of atmosphere and protagonists that are fleshed out enough that you could very well imagine them anchoring a crime drama series, a well-crafted plot and the bonus—a romance that you know you want to see out as the story progresses.
The guess-whodunnit game begins from the start, amping up as Griffin builds on the urgent need to link all the threads that don’t seem to come together. In all, it is an engaging process of getting yourself to think and work backwards just as the characters do, involving symbols and ideology and the groups today that try to employ them for their own purposes.
On the other hand, the romance here is admittedly thin at times; the chemistry between Joel Breda and Miranda seems somewhat threadbare despite Griffin’s words insisting so without much showing in support of it. Both Miranda and Joel have pasts they are seemingly scarred by, but even those back-stories are hardly explored, written about only as a few lines as dialogue that comes and goes without making significant impact. The low-level conflict of coupling up when they work together is a simmering issue, though not one that’s blown out of proportion; both are easily competent in their professional lives even as they struggle personally in their growing relationship.
Miranda/Joel are likeable as they come, but I finished ‘Flight’ thinking that they became a couple who stood as solid as they could be as long as there was work tying them together after their rushed love declarations. Would they have been good together if they weren’t working together, if there wasn’t a crime scene between them? How well did they really know each other beyond the few exchanges they had about their personal lives?
‘Flight’ is a good standalone; it hardly registered that Bailey (Miranda’s sister) was actually the protagonist of the first book given there’s barely any kind of romantic continuity here. But if the murder mystery is something more important to you as a reader as opposed to the romantic subplot, then take heart, this is the kind of writing Griffin excels in.