Also by this author: Artful Murder (Shandra Higheagle Mystery #10), Homicide Hideaway (Shandra Higheagle Mystery #12), Dangerous Dance
Book 7 of the Shandra Higheagle mystery series
Family, Revenge, MurderWhen Shandra Higheagle’s dog brings her a dead body in a sleigh full of presents, her world is turned upside down. The man is a John Doe and within twenty-four hours another body is found.
Detective Ryan Greer receives a call that has them both looking over their shoulders. A vengeful brother of a gang member who died in a gang war is out for Ryan’s blood. Shandra’s dreams and Ryan’s fellow officers may not be enough to keep them alive to share Christmas.
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While this may be the first review of a Paty Jager book, it won’t be the last. In fact, I have been reading them whenever I get a chance to buy a new one. This averages out to be about one a month. Well I guess as much as you can mainline a series while still reading other books.
Sandra Higheagle is an artist, specifically an artist who uses clay as her medium. She lives in Idaho on a large piece of property that she can extract the clay she needs from. She sorta lives with a woman named Lil. Well Lil won’t leave the property to ‘live with’ may be too strong of a phrase. There is actually a book in the series about Lil. It is one of the first Jager books that I shed a tear with.
Instead of finding the body this time, Sandra’s pup Sheba comes across a body. At the time, Sheba was pulling a sled full of Christmas Gifts. Sandra knows that she has yet again found her way into a murder. If you haven’t read any of the other books, you should know that Sandra is pretty adapt at finding her way into murder scenes. She either finds a body, or has individuals asking her for help.
Due to the circumstances, Ryan was told that he couldn’t be involved in this case, but when the cases he is working on intersect with Sheba’s discovery, he not only fears for his own life, but that of everyone he cares about.
Like with all of Jager’s books, I enjoyed this one. What is interesting is that with this one they really downplay Ella’s presence, while in others they spotlight it more. Also Sandra is usually a bit faster on the uptick when it comes to Ella’s proclamations. Another interesting element is that Ryan made a comment, or I guess thought about Ted, and it really made sense. I don’t know why Sandra doesn’t see it, but maybe that happens after book 8. Other than that, this book follows a similar path as the rest of them, Sandra gets herself into trouble because she won’t listen to anyone.
While these are all essentially stand alone works, I would suggest starting at book 1. I personally started at 8 and then went back to 1. I think starting at 1 just gives you more insight into what is going on, and gives the characters a little more roundness. One thing that Jager does really well is that even if you haven’t read the previous books, you know who individuals are. I also really enjoy that the author takes the time to look into the location so it makes you feel like you are really there. All of her books are really good in that, she takes the time to research and really pull the reader into the story.