ARC Review: MURDER NOTES by Lisa Renee Jones

January 08, 2018

Murder Notes by Lisa Renee Jones
As an FBI profiler, it’s Lilah Love’s job to think like a killer. And she is very good at her job. When a series of murders surface—the victims all stripped naked and shot in the head—Lilah’s instincts tell her it’s the work of an assassin, not a serial killer. But when the case takes her back to her hometown in the Hamptons and a mysterious but unmistakable connection to her own life, all her assumptions are shaken to the core.

Thrust into a troubled past she’s tried to shut the door on, Lilah’s back in the town where her father is mayor, her brother is police chief, and she has an intimate history with the local crime lord’s son, Kane Mendez. The two share a devastating secret, and only Kane understands Lilah’s own darkest impulses. As more corpses surface, so does a series of anonymous notes to Lilah, threatening to expose her. Is the killer someone in her own circle? And is she the next target?

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My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Murder Notes was unlike anything I’ve ever read from Lisa Renee Jones, and I’ve read almost all of her books. This compelling and captivating story was more thriller than romance. FBI profiler Lilah Love is on the hunt for a serial killer that she’s not quite convinced is a serial killer. Her quest to capture the perp ties into a traumatic event from her past and she finds herself surrounded by people she’s not sure she can trust. Which isn’t really saying anything as she doesn’t trust easily. This case has brought her back to her ex, who for all intents and purposes seems like a likely suspect - one she constantly discounts. They share a tragic secret and an incredibly hot love/hate relationship, at least on her part. Strangely enough, it seems he’s the one she trusts most, which is still very little. With dead bodies piling up and more questions than answers, how will Lilah solve this case when the secrets are never-ending?

I have a certain amount of admiration for an alpha heroine, especially when done right, and I believe that LRJ did a great job with Lilah. While she came off as downright rude and abrasive, most of the time I understood where she was coming from. Did I think she had the bad habit of getting in her own way? Absolutely. But she didn’t bemoan or gripe about things not going her way. Nope, this chick pushed through and bulldozed her own path. Someone’s not giving her the answers she’s looking for? Throw her badge around. Someone’s being a condescending, masogynistic ahole? Throw her badge around. Someone gave her a funny look? Yup, that’s right… throw her damn badge around.

Lilah cracked me up more times than not. I’m not sure if her behavior was supposed to be seen as hysterical, but that’s how it came off to me. The author found a way to put me in Lilah’s shoes. It didn’t hurt that this was a crime-fighting novel, which lines up with my obsession of all the great crime shows such as Law & Order, Criminal Minds, CSI, etc. The story, for all its gruesome qualities, had a lot of humor and humanity to spare.

Although Lilah came off as a badass who was more likely to shoot first and ask questions later, there were many instances that showcased her vulnerability and reminded me that she was only human. And that maybe some of her crass behavior was a result of pain. Or maybe I’m trying to rationalize the irrational. Who knows? What I do know is that I’m utterly in love with Kane, Lilah’s ex, and I’m craving his perspective desperately. While Lilah has definitely made me turn the pages, a huge part of my interest is the push and pull between her and Kane. I don’t know much about this man, but the little I do has intrigued the heck out of me and I need more.

Anyhoo, you know this story is amazing because it’s not even due for another couple of months and I had to read it, regardless of the huge cliffy I knew would be coming at the end. I’m not exactly thrilled to have to wait an eternity (that’s how it feels) for the next one, but I have no regrets. If you love an intense mystery thriller, than you’re really going to love this one!

Expected Release Date: March 27, 2018
Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
POV: Heroine - 1st person
Heat: 2 out of 5
Series/Standalone: Book #1 of the Lilah Love series

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