Review: Watch Her Vanish

Watch Her Vanish by Ellery A. Kane
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The first book in a new series Rockwell and Decker by author and forensic psychologist Ellery Kane, Watch Her Vanish gives us a murder mystery with classic thriller elements. Olivia Rockwell is the chief criminal psychologist working at the Crescent Bay State Prison. She's returned to Fog Harbour, California for family reasons, out of concern for her younger sister. When female employees of CBSP start turning up dead and the manner of death points to an incarcerated serial killer named Drake Devere, Olivia is certain that the crimes cannot be committed by him. He's in prison, after all. Though he did write a bestseller about a serial killer (profits donated to a women's shelter) so could he have inspired a copycat? When she starts to fear for the life of her sister Emily, her pursuit of the truth takes on greater urgency. Haunted by her own family's dark history, Olivia joins forces with a brooding Fog Harbor homicide detective, Will Decker, trying to protect the women working at the prison and unravel the mystery of a killer before he kills again.

Watch Her Vanish is a fast-paced murder mystery. The relationship between Olivia and Will is tinged with an element of romance that I found a little distracting given the seriousness of the backdrop of all the women being killed. Some aspects of the murders (audio recordings, for example) were deeply creepy. Although there was a promise to keep things platonic for the future, it was clearly left in doubt they will. Additionally, the relationship between Olivia and Will felt sophomoric at times. Some of Olivia's actions or thoughts almost belie the level of training she has attained, which felt odd coming from this author. Scenes near the end, with her unknowingly carrying an unloaded gun in a high-risk situation, just felt unbelievable to me. Additionally, the book ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, which may frustrate some readers who are used to nice wrap-ups. While the murder mystery may be solved, that doesn't mean the killer isn't still out there, hooking the reader for Kane's next installment of Rockwell and Decker.

CW: murder, kidnapping, violence, rape references, decapitation references

I received a digital review copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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No audiobook of this novel is available at present.

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