Another Detective Josie Quinn book from Lisa Regan?
Y’all know I am a huge fan of her books (I might go so far as to call myself a fangirl). You can travel back in time to see my other Josie Quinn reviews if you want to see just how much I like them.
Today, though? On with the blog tour for Face Her Fear, #19 in the series!
Blood roars in Josie’s ears as they circle the tree in the deep snow. A woman lies still on the freezing ground. The howling wind lifts the last of the snow clinging to her face, exposing her lovely features, frozen in forever sleep.
Detective Josie Quinn is still recovering from the killing of a beloved member of her team when she and her husband Noah receive yet more devastating news. Close to her breaking point, Josie heads to a specialist trauma retreat, set in an isolated group of log cabins in the mountains of Pennsylvania. But fear is not far behind her. Josie’s five fellow patients all seem to be hiding secrets darker than just the problems that brought them there and a storm is gathering, with thick snow coming down fast, isolating the cabins from the world below.
Then one morning, Meg Cleary disappears. Having spent years living in terror of a stalker, Meg had come to the retreat to try to piece her life back together. But now, her cabin is empty, no logs are burning in her fireplace, no tracks in the snow lead to or from her door. Quickly organizing a search, Josie’s worst fear is realized when she finds Meg’s body lying in the snow, the marks around her neck revealing that her death was no accident.
And this is no normal case, as Josie is stranded without her team, a phone signal or any legal authority to investigate. When she discovers that someone has placed hidden cameras inside the retreat buildings, Josie’s terror grows with the knowledge that the murderer is among them.
Then another patient goes missing. With their food supplies running low and no chance of escape, Josie knows that she is in the greatest danger of her life, and that she alone has a chance to identify the killer and save the rest of the group before it’s too late…
A totally compelling and unputdownable crime thriller that will have you turning the pages late into the night, from an Amazon, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Robert Dugoni and Rachel Caine.
In Face Her Fear, Josie heads to a specialized trauma retreat to help her cope with her complex PTSD. Losing folks she loved has taken its toll on her mental well-being, and she’s hoping that time spent with an expert therapist in an isolated setting will let her focus on healing. It doesn’t help that she and Noah had a falling-out just before she left, and she’s still smarting from that.
Her fellow retreat attendees all have burdens of their own, and at first she chalks any peculiarities in behavior up to their respective traumas. But when Meg, who’d come to the retreat to work through her fear of the man who had been stalking her for years (and who was still out there), disappears and then is found dead in the snow, Josie must evaluate everything in a different light.
This gives us more of a locked-room mystery than the police procedurals we usually associate with Josie. The setup is a teensy bit predictable, but once we have a dead body, things start hopping. With the blizzard bearing down and snow piling up fast, Josie can’t count on outside help. She is a one-woman wrecking crew here. Though she’s out of her jurisdiction, she knows she has to preserve the scene as best as she can for local law enforcement to investigate. She also knows that, given that the killer might be (probably is) among them, she doesn’t want to risk overplaying her hand. She’s got to keep the others calm while trying not to reveal that the retreat facilities are now a crime scene.
Since Josie is pretty well operating solo, we don’t get the usual team camaraderie and support. I missed that. She does at least manage to get sporadic texts to and from Gretchen that garner her helpful snippets of information. And one of the retreat attendees is an emergency room nurse who’s used to a high-pressure work environment, so Josie isn’t the only one with experience keeping a cool head in a hot situation. The rest of the team is largely on the periphery in this one, though, and I did feel that lack.
I’ve also seen reviews that felt like Josie’s falling out with Noah was a knee-jerk reaction on her part, and maybe unwarranted. I’ve chewed on that, because given how they feel about each other, it does seem like she made unfair assumptions about what he was thinking and feeling and then bolted without hearing what he actually thought. But then, when you consider why she’s at the retreat in the first place, and the fact that she’s probably not crazy about going and rooting through her feelings with a veritable stranger, I suspect part of her knee-jerk reaction was due to nerves about what she expected she’d be facing. Just my two cents on that, for what it’s worth. Goodness knows I’ve expressed anger/irritation/annoyance at the wrong person when I’m really perturbed about something completely unrelated to them.
That being said, even though this story didn’t have all the usual Josie elements, I think it’s necessary to move things forward (kind of like season 4 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but the book was still way better than season 4 of Buffy). Chief Chitwood has finally brought in someone to fill Mettner’s position, and from the little we see and hear of him, it doesn’t look like he’s off to a great start with the team. I’m real curious to see how he fits in and how hard Josie is going to go after him for being a jerk. And when that reveal happens, I think we’ll look back at this particular story and realize that it makes perfect sense in the Josie canon after all!
Five stars from me, because Lisa Regan writes a bang-up good thriller even when she’s taking us on a little detour. Lots of suspense to keep me up later than I needed to be, and once again, I finished it in less than 24 hours. When I can’t tear myself away, that’s a five-star read!
Thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for an advance copy. I’m writing this review because I want to. All opinions here are mine, and I don’t say nice things about books I don’t actually like.
About the author:
Lisa Regan is the USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Detective Josie Quinn series. Lisa is a member of Sisters In Crime, International Thriller Writers, and Mystery Writers of America. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Master of Education Degree from Bloomsburg University. She lives near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the U.S. with her husband, daughter, and Boston Terrier named Mr. Phillip. Find out more at her website: www.lisaregan.com