Monday, October 23, 2017

Review: Even If It Kills Her

Summary: Kate White returns to her New York Times bestselling Bailey Weggins’ Mystery series, with this favorite true-crime journalist turned sleuth’s most chilling case to date.

Bailey Weggins’ great new friend in college, Jillian Lowe, had everything going for her. Pretty, popular, and whip-smart, she lit up any room that she walked into. All of that dramatically changed during her sophomore year, when a neighbor became unhinged and murdered her family. Jillian immediately left school, and ever since, Bailey has felt guilty for not staying in closer contact and being a greater support to her friend.

Now, sixteen years later, Bailey is shocked to see Jillian at her book event, and even more stunned when her still-gorgeous friend approaches her with a case. The man accused of murdering her family is on the brink of being cleared of the crime through new DNA evidence. With the real killer walking free, Jillian is desperate for Bailey’s help to identify him and allow her the closure she yearns for.

As the two women return to Jillian’s childhood town to investigate, it doesn’t take long for their sleuthing to cause shock waves. Someone starts watching their every move. As they uncover deeply-guarded secrets, so shocking that they make Jillian rethink her entire relationship to her family, Bailey and Jillian find themselves in great peril. They must decide just how much they’re willing to risk to finally discover the truth about the Lowe family’s murder. -- Harper

I will always make it a point to read any novel by Kate White. In fact, her novels are some of my favorite mysteries. I've enjoyed her last few stand-alone books quite a bit, but I admit that I've missed Bailey Weggins. I am so happy that she is back in EVEN IF IT KILLS HER.

EVEN IF IT KILLS HER is the seventh novel in the series, and it brought back lots of fond memories for me. In this novel, Bailey is in a pretty good place. She has moved in with her boyfriend, written a true crime novel, and she's actually thinking about what book she wants to write next. Opportunity comes her way one evening at a book event when her college friend, Jillian shows up and asks her to explore her family members murders that occurred sixteen years ago.

Bailey has had regrets ever since the crime that she wasn't a good friend to Jillian. Jillian immediately dropped out of college after the murders, and Bailey didn't stay in contact with her. So when Jillian tells her that there is new DNA evidence that might prove that the man who was found guilty of the crime is innocent, Bailey decides that it's better late than never when it comes to being a good friend.

Bailey and Jillian return to Jillian's childhood home and begin investigating the crime. It's obvious that Bailey is getting a little too close to the truth when she realizes that someone is following her every move. As Bailey gets closer to learning the truth behind the murders, she discovers that Jillian's family had some pretty dark secrets... and this discovery puts her life in danger. Can Bailey learn the identity of the murderer before he or she puts this investigation to an end one way or another?

I thoroughly enjoyed EVEN IF IT KILLS HER and I am so glad that Ms. White decided to go back to her roots and write another Bailey Weggins' novel. This book had everything I've come to appreciate from a mystery novel -- great characters, a complicated mystery, and lots of twists and turns. I will admit that the conclusion wasn't exactly shocking, but it wasn't entirely predictable either.  Overall, it was one those mysteries about a family's dark secrets, and I do love a good story about a dysfunctional family.

Of course, one of my favorite things about this book was the character of Bailey. I've enjoyed seeing Bailey change through the years, and I love her mix of spunkiness and intelligence. She is a terrific amateur sleuth (although since she writes true crime books for a living, is she really an amateur sleuth now?), and she is both strong and brave... even if it could get her killed! There's one particular scene in this book that made me squirm!

Another aspect of this novel that I liked was that was some information about Bailey's personal life. Ms. White definitely brought Bailey to life by including details about her strained relationship with her boyfriend as well as some secrets from her family's past. In addition, I liked how Bailey's guilt through the years played a role in how she worked on and eventually solved this crime. All of these things make Bailey are more realistic character and one that I enjoy spending time with!

As far as mysteries go, I do think EVEN IF IT KILLS HER was well-crafted. I wouldn't go so far as to say that I figured everything out, but I definitely had some pretty strong suspicions. There were a few red herrings thrown in for good measure, but I just had a feeling where this book was going to go. And while I did appreciate Bailey's detective skills, there were a few times when things were a little too convenient. None of these issues were major or affected my enjoyment of the novel, though. I still loved being caught up in Bailey's crime-solving escapades.

All in all, EVEN IF IT KILLS HER is an entertaining read that fans of female-centric mysteries will enjoy! I definitely recommend it fans of Bailey Weggins and Kate White.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.

Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.


bermudaonion said...

I remember you geeking out over Kate White at BEA one year. I'm kind of embarrassed to admit I still haven't tried one of her books. This sounds so good.

The Book Sage said...

Unlike Kathy, I HAVE read a Kate White. I remembered liking it. But I haven't read anything since.