August Murders: Reading Sanctum #9

My reading “hobby,” admittedly, is a little manic. Before the pandemic, when we had to sit around in crowded waiting rooms, expecting our names to be called, I had a Kindle app on my phone such that every moment could be a Reading Sanctum.

I didn’t have to carry a single paperback, when I could be carrying my entire library on my phone. I’m embarrassed to say that I have thousands of books on my phone. I know. It sounds like hyperbole. Yet it’s true.

I’ve subscribed (for free) to Amazon, Book Bub, Bargain Booksy, Freebooksy, and specific authors for over eight years. One of the first authors to ever reach out to me was Willow Rose the pen name of Therese Philipsen.

She mostly writes horror, so of course, I voraciously consume her books and the fact that she sends them to me for free is just an added bonus.

At the beginning of August, Amazon invited me to grab the first three books of the Eva Rae Thomas Mystery Series by Willow Rose for free. I have been thoroughly enjoying them, and couldn’t wait to share with you another Reading Sanctum collection of books.

Eva Rae is an accomplished FBI profiler who has retired at age 41. As Book 1, Don’t Lie to Me begins, we discover that she is also divorced and as a consequence of that divorce, she has moved back to Cocoa Beach, where she was born and raised with the expectation that her parents will help her raise her three children.

In addition to having been an FBI profiler, she has written several books on methodology and psychiatry of serial killers. The income that those books generate, have ameliorated her immediate need for income, but she knows that eventually she will need to find a job.

In the interim, a very high profile kidnapping has occurred. Twelve-year-old, Sophie Williams, a surf-idol in the making, supposed to be the next Kelly Slater, had gone missing from a Girl Scout summer camp only to be found three months later. Her dead, dismembered body is enfolded inside of her camp sleeping bag: just cast like a bag of trash onto one of the most well-traveled streets in Cocoa Beach.

When the son of a local senator is kidnapped, a disturbing video is delivered to the parents. Eva Rae, who has promised her children that she will no longer be involved in law enforcement, must break her promise as she is slowly drawn into the case because of her expertise.

The local constabulary have assigned the case to Matt Miller, an old boyfriend from her youth, but he quickly determines that he will need help, and why not ask an expert for assistance. The Cocoa Beach Police Force is not experienced enough to deal with such unusual and unsettling crimes. Not many small town police are trained to take on such cases.

Soon even such an experienced profiler as Eva Rae realizes that these crimes are maybe putting the people close to her in danger. It compels her to work with greater urgency to discover the killer is someone she knows. (Despite being part of a series, this book could be read as a stand alone.)

In Book 2: What You Did, three high school girls are abducted right after leaving the prom. They had decided to walk home, and were chased, caught, and confined. When another girl, the daughter of one of her best friends, is found in her backyard chained to a swing set and barely alive, Eva Rae knows she can’t sit idly on the sidelines.

Knowing full well, Eva Rae’s skill set. the chief of police invites her to continue to help out the Cocoa Beach Police. Although Eva Rae has her hands full trying to find her long lost sister, she gets involved with Matt Miller who is the lead investigator to race the clock to find the abducted girls. Things get even more complicated when the killer begins to contact Eva Rae, and she realizes that she is the target.

Book 3 of the Eva Rae Mysteries is a direct follow-up story to Book 2, which means that Book 2 is not complete in itself. You will want to read Book 3 in order to get the full story.

Book 3 is called Never Ever and really it means that Eva Rae is forced into doing things that she didn’t believe she was capable of doing. I don’t want to tease too much because teasing 3 requires spoiling Book 2, which I will not do.

Suffice it to say that I liked these books very much. I find Eva Rae to be a fascinating character, who is believable. She is drawn into situations where her skills are necessary and I would love to believe that there are agents in the FBI that are similar. As always, when giving a review, I rate these collections according to my standards.

I give this Eva Rae Thomas Mysteries Trilogy 4 out of 5 Grey Geeks.

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