Full disclosure – I was provided an advanced reader’s copy of this book by the author or their representative but have voluntarily provided a review. All opinions are my own.
When the suspect is a former friend can Detective Steele put feelings aside and focus on the case?
In a remote cabin retreat, a woman is found dead. With all doors locked from the inside, the method appears to be a clear suicide, but Detective Amanda Steele isn’t so sure. Alicia Gordon had it all – a successful cosmetics empire, a vast manse in an affluent area of town, and a loving family; so, what would drive her to kill herself. As Amanda and Trent begin to investigate it becomes apparent that there is a personal tie when Amanda comes face to face with an old friend whom she hasn’t spoken to in over 6 years. While she wants to stay objective in her investigation, she finds it difficult to separate her prior feelings for Tony and the current case. Could her old, estranged friend have murdered his wife? As the evidence mounts Amanda and Trent need to stay focused. With the suspect pool increasing, the duo cannot make the wrong conclusion as the resulting backlash could be disastrous.
Carolyn Arnold returns with the fifth installment in the Detective Amanda Steele series of books. Taking place not too long after Black Orchid Girls, Detective Steele is gaining a more stable footing with her recently estranged family. She has settled into a comfortable if not hectic routine with her adopted daughter Zoe and things are starting to feel “right” again. So, when she is confronted with Tony, her past comes flooding back in a way she never expected. Having been friends with him and his wife since high school, the friendship was irretrievably broken after the loss of her husband and daughter. Amanda spends almost as much time warring with her resurfaced hurt as she does attempting to riddle out the mounting evidence. And with each new turn of events pointing more and more in the direction of her former friend it starts to become harder and harder to stay objective.
I have read this entire series so far and with each installment, Arnold reveals a bit more of Amanda Steele’s back story. While the series on the surface is a “police procedural” and a very good one at that, for the astute reader it is so much more. From our first introduction to Detective Steele in The Little Grave, Arnold has introduced a very complex, tortured woman who is trying to find her own way after the worst tragedy of her life. I believe that with this installment we are starting to see Steele’s life finally fall into place. For me, who has followed this series from the very first book, it is nice to see Amanda in if not a place of peace, at least a place where she can be more at ease. Of all the books I have read by Carolyn Arnold to date, I have to say this series is without a doubt my favorite. But even though Her Frozen Cry is a part of a bigger series, Arnold has crafted a series that can be read as easily as they can be read as individual stand-alone offerings. With the next book in the series already in the works, I am eager to see what the next case brings and how it factors in to the life of Detective Amanda Steele. If you like a headstrong female character who is as compassionate as she is tough, I recommend giving this series a read.