The Plot (from Goodreads):
Senior Investigator Shana Merchant has spent years running from her past. But she never imagined a murder case would drive her to the most dangerous place of all–home.
After leaving the NYPD following her abduction by serial killer Blake Bram, Shana Merchant hoped for a fresh start in the Thousand Islands of Upstate New York. Her former tormentor has other plans. Shana and Bram share more than just a hometown, and he won’t let her forget it. When the decades-old skeleton of Shana’s estranged uncle is uncovered, Bram issues a challenge: Return home to Vermont and solve the cold case, or the blood he spills next will be on her hands.
As Shana interviews members of her family and the community, mining for secrets that could help her solve her uncle’s murder, she begins to realize how little she remembers of her childhood. And when Bram grows impatient and kidnaps again, leaving a trail of clues Shana alone can understand, she knows his new victim will only survive if she wins the psychopath’s twisted game. In order to solve one mystery, Shana must wade into her murky past to unravel another.
I absolutely loved Death in the Family, so I was very excited for the second book in the Shana Merchant series! I actually binged them back to back after signing up to buddy read this with Let’s Talk Books.
I was happy I read Death in the Family first, but The Dead Season can definitely work as a standalone. The second book has a lot more about Shana’s character and backstory, whereas Death in the Family was more focused on her case. I loved getting to learn more about her!
Shana is a badass, but is also struggling with PTSD from being kidnapped by a serial killer before the series begins. Her character could be frustrating at times, as she withheld some information from her coworkers that could have made a big difference in the case she was working! I loved listening to Let’s Talk Books’ Instagram Live with Tessa to get some more insight on some of Shana’s decisions. I think I understand her character better after listening to Tessa’s thoughts on it.
I enjoyed Shana’s working relationship with her partner Tim, as well as with her boss Mac. All of the characters in this series are very likable. I love Tim and how kind and patient he is with Shana–they’re opposites but seem to balance each other out really well.
Minor spoiler alert: this one ends on a huge cliffhanger! I personally hate cliffhangers, but it certainly has drawn me in and made me want to read the next book. Luckily the third book in this series is in the works already. I’m hoping I won’t have to wait too long to figure out what happens!
I’m a big fan of this series, and can’t wait for it to continue.