4 out of 4 stars
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When Lucy Vega, a photojournalist, is asked to investigate and photograph a car wreck in a Malibu canyon, she makes the horrific discovery that the victim is none other than her uncle, Henry Vega. Having lost her family to a similar incident in her childhood, Lucy is distraught and in disbelief as she experiences the trauma of sudden loss all over again. Her uncle’s death is declared accidental, but when Lucy spots a Los Angeles County homicide detective and the Counter-Terrorism Unit at the scene, she doubts the coroner’s conclusion. Thus, Lucy begins her search for the truth. Could it be that his death was the result of something sinister? Who would want her uncle dead, and why?
Deadly Focus: A Vega and Middleton Mystery by Sue Hinkin is a compelling, fast-paced thriller that takes readers on a treacherous journey in search of truth and justice. It is the first book in its intended series and the author’s debut novel.
One of my favorite aspects of the narrative is the strong, smart female protagonist. She is not perfect, however. While I found myself rooting for her, other times, I thought she risked too much, including the lives of those around her due to her tendency to be impulsive. The narrative, written in the third-person and coupled with the author’s writing style, paints vividly who the other characters are as individuals. Thus, the supporting characters seemed well-defined, and it was easy to care for them as well.
The author does a great job with the description of scenery and atmosphere creation, and the narrative conveys place and mood expertly. Spanish words were used whenever we encountered Spanish speaking characters and in Spanish speaking locations. The meanings of the Spanish words could be deduced from the context.
Right from the first chapter, the narrative had me in its grips as I was fascinated by the plot and wondered what would happen next. By the sixth chapter, we had already witnessed the crime, knew the facts and who the perpetrators were, as well as some of their motives. I became worried, especially with more than three hundred pages to go; I thought there wasn’t much left to tell. However, I quickly realized I was wrong, as there were plenty exciting elements during the investigation process and unexpected plot-twists that had me enjoying the narrative all the way to the action-filled ending.
Overall, the plot and characters worked well in weaving an engrossing tale. I did notice some typos and grammatical errors, but they were few and didn’t take much away from my experience. I, therefore, rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. The novel does contain detailed violence scenes and instances of child sexual abuse. Thus, it is suitable for a mature audience. I recommend Deadly Focus to fans of the genre and more specifically, those who love howcatchems.
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