A Sarah Armstrong Mystery by Kathryn Casey
Review: Kathryn Casey interweaves what are essentially three stand-alone novellas, each of which could assume the book's title, into one volume, Blood Lines, the second in her series featuring Texas Ranger Sarah Armstrong.
Two of the storylines are mysteries in the sense they involve Sarah professionally. The more interesting of these is the suicide of a Houston oil company executive, Elizabeth "Billie" Cox. Sarah visits the scene of the woman's death, and is immediately suspicious: it looks staged, too perfect. But there is no obvious evidence to support her suspicions. Her investigation into Billie's death leads to a complex business deal that she was involved with, and information that she had been having an affair, though with whom is unknown. Then there's Billie's sister, Faith, who insists her sister's spirit is communicating with her. The forensic evidence that is uncovered, together with Sarah's insightful questioning of the suspects, and even the "ghostly" happenings in Billie's office, all make for an enjoyable, credible and satisfying procedural investigation.
The second mystery involves a pop singer, Cassidy Collins, who is being targeted by an obsessive fan, one capable of intercepting live audio feeds, replacing the singer's headphone music with words along the lines of "I'm here, and I've come for you." Cassidy's tour is bringing her to Dallas and Houston, and her manager wants assurances that Cassidy can be protected while in the state. Furthermore, a prime suspect is a student at Rice University in Houston. Sarah is assigned the task of doing background checks, and securing the venues prior to Cassidy's arrival. While this storyline has potential, there's really little suspense, the relationship that develops between Sarah and Cassidy is not believable, and the outcome is just a little too pat.
Finally, there's the non-mystery storyline involving Sarah, her mother and daughter, and the difficult birth of a foal on Sarah's ranch. Most mysteries have a personal backstory for the lead characters, but here it is written almost as a stand-alone narrative. It's touching, poignant, and quite rewarding in and of itself.
Taken together, Blood Lines reads like three days in the life of a multi-processing Sarah Armstrong. It's certainly not the typical approach to a mystery novel, and while it generally works, in the end it's also slightly disappointing that there was nothing to link the stories together … other than the book's title.
Acknowledgment: Minotaur Books provided a copy of Blood Lines for this review.
Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
The Killing Storm
Minotaur Books (Hardcover), October 2010
ISBN-13: 9780312379520; ISBN-10: 0312379528
Location(s) referenced in Blood Lines: Houston, Texas
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Blood Lines by Kathryn Casey — A Sarah Armstrong Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: July 2009
List Price: $24.99
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Page Author: Lance Wright
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