I started right at the beginning of Wegert’s Shana Merchant series and have loved every single entry. That said, I did have a bit of reader whiplash at the beginning of this one. For one thing, Shana is dealing with the fame of pretty much everyone finding out who Blake Bram really was. Add to that some family drama where none of them are speaking to her because of the information she withheld and things already feel a little rocky. Understandably, Shana has some things to work through, but yet I couldn’t really understand why she seemed to be having issues with Tim being “too” supportive and nice to her. Tim hasn’t changed one bit in each book – he’s very much a consistent character in a good way. So to see her struggling with him being, well him, and even trying to put him at arm’s length threw me off. I was concerned it was going to turn into one of those situations that are basically just used to interject unnecessary drama, like having a couple fight for the sake of it when there’s no reason to.
But, let me be clear – I should not have doubted Wegert. Not only did it turn out that there was no unnecessary drama, but we actually were able to see Shana grow even more as a character. She actually realized what she was doing and why, and in a beautiful move, she and Tim talked things over and sorted it out. In fact, this situation didn’t even last for half of the book, so it didn’t end up feeling dragged out and weird.
This is also another masterclass from Wegert on how to keep your readers guessing. She never fails to surprise me with her reveals and this one was driving me crazy trying to figure out so much that I actually committed the terrible act of flipping to the end to see who the killer was prematurely. It blew me away so much though that I flipped back to my place and started speed reading to get to the why of it all.
I honestly didn’t think we’d get a fourth Shana Merchant book – everything seemed pretty well wrapped up in the end of book three. But if that one provided a decent amount of closure, this one took it even further and really made things feel like they were nicely tied up and sorted. I was curious though, so I reached out to Wegert on Goodreads and she has said there will be a fifth Shana Merchant book in late 2023 (fist pump!) which is very exciting!
Wegert knows how to craft a mystery like no other and this is just one more book of hers that’s absolutely 5 stars and worth reading again and again.
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