“The Three Deaths of Magdalene Lynton” by Katherine Hayton

Although my primary reading genres these days are fantasy and romance/erotica, detectives, especially police procedurals, have always held a special place in my heart, so when I received this book in exchange for voting for it rather casually in the Kindle Scout program, I got a pleasant surprise. Which just goes to show that you should venture outside of your preferred genre from time to time…life lesson there…anyway, this book took me back to the joy I felt when reading, for instance, a Dalziel and Pascoe novel, with the same kind of realism, well-developed and flawed characters, and tight plotting that ratcheted up the tension until I found myself snatching paragraphs while waiting for my web browsers to load, desperate to find out what happened next.

The story starts when Ngaire, a New Zealand police officer currently on desk duty while recovering from an attack, has to deal with what she thinks is a false confession by a dying man for a death that happened forty years ago. But then it seems that maybe the confession isn’t so false after all…or is it? What really happened to rebellious teenager Magdalene Lynton on the religious commune where her parents lived? Can the cops find out, and will doing so bring closure, or tear people apart?

Ngaire is a very sympathetic character, the “good cop” against her partner Deb’s (and props for having two female cops work together, by the way) more abrasive personality, even as she struggles with her own demons. The setup and the plotting, as mentioned above, keep the tension high from beginning to end, with a satisfying resolution. Fans of detective fiction should definitely enjoy this new addition to the genre’s ranks.

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