The Dancing Girls
Author: M.M. Chouinard
Publication Date: 15 May 2019
Genre: Adult Fiction – Crime Thriller
The light in her wide brown eyes dimmed as she drew her last breath. She might have been beautiful lying there on the floor, if it wasn’t for the purple marks on her neck and the angry red line on her finger where her wedding band used to be…
When Jeanine Hammond is found dead in a hotel in the picture-perfect town of Oakhust, newly-promoted Detective Jo Fournier is thrown into a disturbing case. Who would murder this shy, loving wife and leave her body posed like a ballerina?
Jo wants to know why Jeanine’s husband is so controlling about money, and where Jeanine’s wedding ring is, but before she and her team can get close to the truth, another woman is found strangled in a hotel, arms placed gracefully above her head like a dancer.
While digging through old case files, Jo makes a terrifying link to a series of cold cases: each victim bears the same strangulation marks. But the FBI won’t take Jo seriously, and if she disobeys direct orders by investigating the killings outside of her jurisdiction, it will mean the end of the career she’s already sacrificed so much for, even her relationship.
Just as Jo is beginning to lose hope, she finds messages on the victims’ computers that make her question whether these small-town women were hiding big lies. Jo thinks this is the missing link between the victims, but she knows the killer is moments away from selecting his next victim. Will it lead her to the most twisted killer of her career in time, or will another innocent life be lost?
An absolutely unputdownable and brilliant new crime thriller series that fans of Robert Dugoni, Lisa Regan and Melinda Leighwill devour in one sitting.
You danced at my command. Ate and drank according to my whims. Rose to a fever pitch of desire because I willed it. And now, finally, you die.
Janine Hammond is found murdered in her hotel room, and the way in which her body is lying on the hotel floor gives it the appearance that she had been dancing. Lieutenant Jo Fournier and her team are called on scene to investigate this mysterious and gruesome murder. There’s no blood or sign of struggle in the hotel room. Apart from Janine Hammond’s missing wedding ring, everything else in the room was in order ruling out a potential robbery. Jo and her team try to track down any leads, but they ultimately end up empty handed. Janine Hammond’s case ends up cold.
Jo is forced to take leave, and she ultimately decides to visit her dad in New Orleans. While she’s there, she gets a call that there’s a crime scene that is an exact match to the cold case of Janine Hammond. Additionally, the security camera revealed the victim walking into the hotel with a man who wore a fedora…finally a clue to link both of the scenes! Jo and her team now realize that they have a serial killer on their hands, and they must race against time in order to prevent him from killing his next victim.
One thing that was really disturbing about this thriller is that you know who the serial killer is the entire time because there are several chapters that are from his POV. To make things worse, you get an intimate insight to not only how he murders his victims but also his process of how he selects them and lures them into his prowess. Unsurprisingly, we also learn that his childhood is chock-full of abuse, which makes you wonder if that’s the reason he turns out the way he does.
What I loved about this story was that from the very beginning, this crime thriller is fast paced and nonstop action. Every time I thought we finally had the information that we needed in order to capture the serial killer, another curve ball was thrown into the mix, which was even more exciting. Oh and that ending?! Yeah, I’ll just leave it at that.
Overall, this is a stunning debut from this author. I can’t wait to see how the adventure continues in the next installment of Lieutenant Jo Fournier.
Thank you Bookouture and NetGalley for providing an eARC of this book. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.
M.M. Chouinard’s first fiction story was published in her local paper when she was eight, and she fell in love with Agatha Christie novels not long after. While pursuing a Ph.D in psychology and helping to found the first U.S. research university of the new millenium, the stories kept rattling around inside her skull, demanding to come out. For sanity’s sake, she released them. She’s currently at work on her seventh novel.
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