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Sydney Valentine is a kick-ass female detective with an edge and an attitude--about everything. She's a sassy and contemporary cop who's tough and potty-mouthed. She's going to see justice served--no matter what.
The Protector (Book 1 in the Sydney Valentine Mystery series)
When the body of a social worker is found on the stairway inside the building where she worked, a mouthful of Scrabble letters tells Detective Valentine that this is not a random killing.
And it's not.
A brutal killer with a sinister connection to Child Protective Services is prowling the streets in Detective Sydney Valentine’s jurisdiction. More letters are needed to piece together the puzzle, but that means more people will die.
A dead juvenile court judge, a single mother – the body count climbs.
Detective Valentine becomes a target and the stakes rise. Her sister is attacked and Valentine realizes she needs to step it up before it's too late. Her courage and investigative skills are put to the test. She must protect her family and take down the killer before any more people die.
A fast-paced novel of mystery and suspense, The Protector will grip you from the very beginning, so hold on tight.
Criminal Negligence (Book 2 in the Sydney Valentine Mystery series
An unidentified young woman’s bloody corpse is found in the backyard hot tub of a high-end home. Detective Sydney Valentine arrives at the scene and discovers nothing is as it initially appears—far from it.
Valentine’s pursuit of Jane Doe’s identity uncovers secrets and lies. Her investigation reveals treachery and deceit as more crimes change or end the lives of those connected to the victim.
Throughout it all, Detective Valentine must face her own personal and professional challenges.
She digs deeper to expose the truth behind the skeletons in the fancy closets before she becomes one of them.
The Best Murder Mystery Novel I've Ever Read
I didn't know I needed this until I picked it up by chance. What we have here is - dare I say it? - the best murder mystery novel I've ever read.
Our protagonist - Sydney Valentine - is a young-ish female detective who is not only kick-ass and great at her job, but a really beautifully rounded character, and incredibly relateable. It's not often that a writer will divulge so much family background and non-job-related life and make it work so smoothly with the book as a whole. This writer is breaking stereotypes (except the doughnut-eating-police-officer thing) with every sentence, and I love her for it.
The book is pacy and the case original, but it was the balance between sensitivity and action that really blew me away. Ms Davis writes fantastic relationships; I don't think I've ever been so emotionally invested in crime fiction before! Every character was so human, and every death was treated like a real tragedy rather than a 'complication to the case'.
The plot is a whirlpool of completely unforeseen (or at least, unforeseen by me) twists and turns, and I was completely enraptured by the entire story. I'm still reeling from that ending!
Davis' writing is snappy and gritty; she doesn't shy away from difficult topics, but she never slips into the trap of being overly gruesome. As for the dialogue, there were a few instances where I felt the utterances were too clipped to feel natural, but as a whole it slipped well into the story and read smoothly.
My only question (and please bear in mind this is coming from a young British country-bumpkin) was whether it was true to life to have a network of so many broken and difficult people.
Either way, the layers of humour, profundity and accuracy made this book a brilliant read that I highly recommend. It's an experience I'm so glad I got to enjoy.