What Hurts the Most: Willow Rose

Book #1 in the ‘7th Street Crew’ Series

Mary Mills has just been fired from a prominent newspaper writing job. Thinking her day couldn’t get any worse, she returns home to her son & dog only to get a call from her father. Blake, her baby brother, has been arrested for murder. Despite loathing the thought, Mary packs up her world & returns to her hometown. Cocoa Beach, FL has nothing but tragic memories for Mary. One would think that growing up steps from the ocean, surfing daily with a group of best friends would be heavenly. However, this town is where her mother died, her stepmom resented her, & her father became a distant entity. Add in that it is where her cheating ex-husband resides & Mary isn’t sure she wants to return. But, Blake needs help so she goes.

In her heart, Mary believes that Blake isn’t capable of murder. A local artist, Blake has always been gentile & kind. Launching her own investigation, Mary draws on her previous work as an investigative journalist. Without much info to rely upon, all she knows is that a young woman was found dead & a bloody chisel was found in Blake’s studio. Being home has one advantage. Nearby are the group of friends she grew up with, still together, all living on 7th Street like they used to. Knowing she needs help, they put everything aside & regroup.

Everyone one is focused on Blake’s case until more bodies start turning up. At first glance, it just seems tragic. That is until one of ‘The Crew’ realizes that these victims are all people that went to their high school. In fact, they were part of a clique, too. Is Blake being framed? Could these murders all be tied together in some type of systematic annihilation? Pretty soon Mary & her friends conclude that they’ll need to figure out what’s going on before more victims turn up, especially if one of them may be next.

Willow Rose has launched a brand new series with tremendous potential. True to her other novels, this one is creepy, suspenseful, & has a strong female lead. While she is the ‘star’ of the book, Mary shares her spotlight with the entire 7th Street Crew. This way we have some heroines & some heroes. Also in following with her past works, Willow goes from past to present, chapter by chapter, seamlessly. It isn’t a light read. Readers will need to do a bit of thinking as the secrets pile up & are methodically revealed.

Unlike her other books, there is significantly less gore & sex (which is a good thing). The plot is very creative. Willow Rose is extremely talented & has taken a bold move in starting a fresh, new series, especially one with multiple main characters. However, it works. This series can be huge for her if she maintains the same quality that this debut has to it. It’s a 4 star novel & I am really looking forward to more.

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