Stevie Carroll's Reviews > Cause of Death

Cause of Death by Sheri Lewis Wohl
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really liked it
bookshelves: reviewed-elsewhere

Previously reviewed on The Good, The Bad, and The Unread:

l don’t generally relish mysteries in which part of the action is seen from the point of view of an unknown villain, but I’m prepared to make an exception if the rest of the plot and characters are to my taste. In this case I was keen to read about the pairing of a canine search and rescue handler and a medical student working in the offices of the local medical examiner to overlook the creepy prologue that introduces an antagonist who refers to himself as the Seeker. And I’m very glad I stuck with this story and got to know our two protagonists.

Vi – Bavilla Akiak – has long harboured the ambition to be a forensic pathologist, and a string of rejections from medical school while working as an assistant to the chief medical examiner in her home town of Anchorage hasn’t deterred her. Having finally obtained a place at Washington State University, and a new job nearby, Vi travels south by road to her new home, calling at the office on the way, and finally arriving more than a little exhausted on the doorstep of her new landlord, Kate Renard – Kat for short – and Kate’s canine companion, Lucy, an exuberant and highly trained search dog. Vi and Kat are starting to get to know each other when Kat is called out on a search, and the next day Vi comes face to face with the fall-out from a subsequent search: a murder victim whose injuries bear worrying similarities to those suffered by Vi’s mother.

Although a man was jailed for that earlier murder, Vi has never been comfortable with the verdict, and now it seems that either the real killer is committing the same crimes in a new location or someone else is copying the previous methodology. Although she is at first unwilling to confide in Kat, who found this new victim with Lucy, the two women soon find themselves working together – in association with two of Kat’s other friends after another body is found. Vi slowly develops the confidence to open up to Kat about her other, more unusual ability: she sees the ghosts of the killer’s victims along with other recently deceased individuals who have reasons of their own to stick around. She also discovers another, unexpected familial link to the area and to one of Kat’s friends.

Although I figured out the identity of the killer shortly before our heroines, that was mainly because of the chapters detailed from the antagonist’s point of view, and for once I didn’t feel short-changed by the trope. It worked in this book where it doesn’t work for me in most others. The final showdown with the killer played out neatly, and all the other loose ends were tied up nicely as well. I’d like to see more of these characters and find out how Vi’s abilities continue to help – or possibly hinder – her as she continues towards her chosen career. I’m also intrigued to learn more about Kat’s other friends and see how they first met and got together.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
September 3, 2019 – Shelved
September 3, 2019 – Shelved as: reviewed-elsewhere
September 3, 2019 – Finished Reading

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