Cause of Death

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 04 Sep 2019

Member Reviews

I think this book tried to do too much at once. A serial killer, a romance and someone finding out they had a sister who was also a psychic l. It all got a bit muddled. 

It was also a bit matter of fact rather than building up suspense and tension. And very convenient that one of the main characters who was supposed to be a farmer used to be a forensic investigator. Obviously this kind of book has to be approached with an open mind but parts of it need to be believable. 

The premise of the story was good and the characters likeable.
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This book was a bit disjointed.  There was a serial killer.  His acts are pretty detailed, so if you are squeamish, this is not the book for you.  Between his brutal acts, if the budding relationship (which happens quite quickly) between Kate and Vi.  Maybe it is because this is not like most books that have a serial killer in it.  I found it hard to follow what was going on at times.  
The writing is well done.  There needs to be between plot twists and not so disjointed.
I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Stevie‘s review of Cause of Death by Sheri Lewis Wohl
Contemporary Lesbian Romance published by Bold Strokes Books 13 Aug 19

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.

Grade: B
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*I requested this book on NetGalley and for receiving the ARC I agreed to give an honest review.*

I would recommend this book. It is a worthwhile addition to the lesfic/serial killer genre . It tells the story of Vi, a medical student/mortuary assistant and Kat, a K9 dog handler/computer genius and their search for the serial killer known as 'The Seeker'. The psychic aspect of the book, with Vi's ability to see the dead, gives a new and interesting twist to this mystery thriller and is handled with a deft touch  by the author. Also, unlike previous reviewers I enjoyed the switching of perspectives from Vi and 'The Seeker' as I felt this gave the reader a more thorough understanding of the motivations of the killer. and his murderous drives. My main criticism of this book is the ending, which was all too abrupt. There was very little tension involved in the final scenes that dealt with the apprehension of the killer. Sadly, this and the schmaltzy epilogue let the book down at the most crucial point in the story. Despite an underwhelming ending this was an enjoyable enough read.
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*I requested this book on NetGalley and for receiving the ARC I agreed to give an honest review.*

I loved half of this book. 

This book was told in alternating perspectives between the new medical assistant, Vi; a search and rescue dog handler, Kate; and the serial killer. The sections focusing on Vi and Kate where handled fairly well. I was interested to see what happened next and I was invested in their relationship.

I did not like the sections that where focused on the killer's perspective. While Vi and Kate and most of the other side characters felt fleshed out, the killer did not. He felt more like a cartoon villain than a person committing horrendous acts. 

Not only did the killer not really feel like an individual, but the switching between the perspectives was not handled well. The killer's POV section almost always interrupted Vi's and Kate's sections. Whenever there was a big reveal or suspenseful moment happening, it would be cut off by the killer's section. I can understand what the author was trying to do with this; they were trying to create more tension by making the reader wait longer but it did the opposite. Instead of increasing the tension, it cut it and decreased it. And this started to become predictable. Every time there was a building of tension with Vi and Kate, the story would jump to the killer. Doing this so often lessened the effect.
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That’s in exchange of an honest review that I received an ARC of Sheri Lewis Wohl’s « Cause of Death» from BSB (via NetGalley). 
So, here it is.

My rating : 1⭐️

The story sets in Spokane – Washington, USA and focuses mainly on 3 MCs…. on psychic Bavilla « Vi » Akiak, a medical examiner assistant and doctor-to-be from Alaska & Kate « Kat » Renard, a beautiful K9 search and rescue handler who lives next door, who is also Vi’s landlady, on the one hand  … And, on « the Seeker » on the other hand … 

Being an amateur of mysteries and paranormal stories, an animal lover & a lesfic romance lover, I loved the idea of the this novel …. I had high expectations, like I had for « Necromantia » the first one I’ve read by this author …Well, I shouldn’t have !! Because I’m very disappointed, and, sadly, not for the 1st time … 

Before going farther about what I think about « Cause of Death », I’d like to explain something : Since : 
- it’s in the same location & « Circe and Diana », the MCs of Necromantia appear in the novel as secondary characters ; 
- it’s the same kind of story (paranormal mystery) and the serial killer from Necromantia is mentioned ; 
- Vi is related by blood to Circe (they have the same father) and share the same gift (or curse, name it like you prefer …)
=> it seems weird that « Necromantia » and « Cause of  Death » are not put in a « Spokane mysteries series » along with « The Talebearer » since this one (which I haven’t read) seems to be located in the State of Washington as well. It would make more sense to me because, seriously, without reading at least Necromantia first, the reader can miss a lot of things … 

This being said … Here are a few other things (list non exhaustive) I’d like to say which explain why I didn’t enjoy this novel (whereas I really wanted to love it) and why I was, several times, tempted to not finish it … : 
° the book, like its « older brother », had a lot of potential but not a single thing seems to be worked deeply. (and I won’t talk about the typos …)
° the author’s writting style (which is more like a huge monologue and which « juggles » between 3 different character angles) gives the feeling to be caught in the mud of a marsh and makes you struggle very hard to move forward and get out of this trap … : the seemingly endless rambling about the Seeker (his childhood, his father, etc …), that’s highly tiring and, even if I’m not fan of horror stories, I would have prefered some « action » instead of this … And, you also have the seemingly endless rambling about the MCs : it’s put in a slight different form each time but when you look closer you see that you’ve got the same info over and over again …
° some info are redundant from a novel to the other. And, like itw as already the case in the « first » book, some things (other than the « rambling » …) are redundant inside the novel itself. It’s boring and, breaks the flow of the narration.
° I’m not from the US and I’m not a cop but, based on what I’ve always read and all we can see in TV series & movies (warning : I’m not saying here they are right …) since they occured in several different states, it, seems more than very weird that violent crimes like the ones perpetrated by the Seeker in this story were not already registered in the national database and between the FBI hands (nope, I’m don’t buy Diana’s explanation about why it’s not done) …     +      that a burned-out computer genius turned farmer/dog handler, 2 psychic new found half-sisters (one being a dog handler « for the form » and the other a ME assistant & doc-to-be) & a local PD detective are the ones who, in less than a week, find the pattern and elucidate the mystery which lasts since years (decades ?), is very pretentious and insulting for the federal agencies if you ask me. I don’t say the « MIBs » are always the best but here, they really are pictured like dummies unable to solve a high profile case (since they weren’t even able to detect it in the 1st place … )      +      Kat, like invested by a PI mission, going, alone (of course, without saying anything to anyone) in the Seeker’s home is totally stupid & ridiculous (so ridiculous we could think we’re in a reallly bad TV series … ). But like if it wasn’t enough she does it all over again the day after with his second place !!!! Talk about her being a genius     +      all the coincidences & the fact that little Spokane has not one, not two but three serial killers in the short frame of time make all the « thriller » side of the story NOT CREDIBLE AT ALL !!!! 
° now, about the lovestory … Well, if you can call it that since it’s more like another out of the blue « instalove ». In Necromantia I tolerated the « instalove » between Diana and Circe because both had some paranormal habilities (but, even if I thought it was cool to see Paul, a secondary character, having his own romance, I wasn’t fan of his « instalove » for Lisa … because none of them have any special habilities). Here, Kat doesn’t have any « gift » in the paranormal field so, her relationship with Vi is a typical « instalove » romance and … those who read regularly m reviews know thar I don’t like them !!   OK … Let’s put the « instalove » aside for a while … WTH !?!?!  When something interesting would have happened (finally) in the novel it’s totally shut down. Guys and gals, know that in this book, we don’t witness the first kiss … and we don’t get to witness the second kiss either. Gosh !!! IDK this such a book exists but it seems to me that in « romance for dummies » to build a romance… you have to actually show, at least, the first kiss. So … Why … but why did the author do this to us ??? And I won’t even talk about the details of the MCs’s 1st intimate encounter (or the lack of them actually) … 🤯😞

I bet I could go on and on and on but I think you've got the idea … 😋

If I had to make a very short and quite different version of my review, it’d be something like this :
- Did I enjoy this book? => Nope !! I wanted to but I just couldn’t because I really struggled to read it from the beginning to the end. Seriously, I was tempted to not finish it more than once. So much potential wasted … that’s really disapointing.
- Did I find the characters believable? => Nope … and it’s not even the psychic side which bothered me. As a matter of fact, it was the only thing which was believable from my POV
- Is this book now included in my « must be re-read »-list? => No !!
- Will I purchase the paperback? => No !!
- Would I read another book by this author? => Not any time soon (maybe never)
- Would I recommend this book => Nope !! But, if people want to give it a try to make their own opinion, well, they’re free.

Hey guys and gals, if you grab your own copy, enjoy (or not) your reading … 

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2.5 stars. This is a serial killer, paranormal, romance that doesn’t actually manage to achieve any of the genres with a high degree of success. The romance, which really just amounted to the odd mention here and there, and zero chemistry, I think would have been better left out all together. The paranormal aspect of the book was an interesting if not new idea, but this was not really explored very much either. Being an avid reader of Cornwall, Reichs, Baldacci etc I did rather enjoy the portions of the book dedicated to the Seeker. However, even this portion held no mystery as it was obvious to the reader well before the end of the book who the killer was. I have to say that these portions almost appear to have been written by a different hand to the rest of the book as they flow much better and don’t appear nearly as forced or stilted. Overall, I was looking forward to reading this book and did feel rather disappointed.
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I am very happy I had an opportunity to read this book. It had a great balance between different genres and they all added value to the storyline. I loved the search and rescue additions, especially the dogs. I love when dogs become an additional main character. I spent a fair amount of my reading anxiously wondering where the storyline was going to go. I think the paranormal part was interesting and touching. 
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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This was an interesting, enjoyable read although it didn't end up hitting all the marks for me. 

This was a mix between a romance book and a thriller/suspense novel but I found that both aspects were underdeveloped. The romance is between Vi and Kat who are both attracted to the other as soon as they meet but they don't expect anything to come from it until they begin to spend more and more time together. I feel like their relationship was cute, they had a good connection but I just wanted a little more from it. Also, the first kiss happens off page which I found odd. I'm glad to see I wasn't the only person bothered by this detail but I found myself skimming back as I thought I must have missed something. 

I liked the aspect of these women, and their friends, trying to figure out who the serial killer is. It was interesting to see them trying to put the puzzle together. However, the killer also has their POV in this book which is usually an aspect I love but I found myself bored by the killers perspective. It wasn't creepy or eerie like I wanted but frankly, just rather boring. 

Another problem I had was that there was a couple of plotlines that never seemed to be expanded. It's mentioned that Kat previously had a stalker, it's a subject mentioned just a couple of times, yet it never goes away. It felt like an odd aspect to add when it had no relevance to anything. Also, I felt like the paranormal aspect could have been better developed. There is a paranormal aspect here (view spoiler) which I thought would be a big part of the plot but it never really went anywhere. 

Whilst this review sounds negative I did actually enjoy reading this book. It was a light and entertaining read, it just wasn't perfect for me.
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I tried multiple times to immerse myself in this story. Eventually I did make my way through however I did not connect with the writing. Reading is subjective and I personally did not find myself looking forward to where the plot was heading. The pacing was a bit slow for me.
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Vi moves to Spokane to start medical school and work as a medical examiners assistant. She moves next door to Kat, her landlord, a K9 handler, and extremely attractive. What starts as a simple enough move across the country for Vi, soon turns into a race to find a serial killer.

This book was a little bit of a struggle to get through. For lack of a better way of saying it, it just felt like there were a lot of words, unnecessary words. I felt like I was getting bogged down in the long paragraphs of thoughts and introspection, when it could be a lot more action driven for a crime novel. But overall I enjoyed the journey, Sheri Lewis Wohl always creates interesting adventures that surprise and excite. The light romance was a nice balance for the crime aspect of the book, and the group of secondary characters are fascinating as always and the dogs shone as well. I won't hesitate to pick up another book by this author.  

I received an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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This is the first book I’ve read by this author. Most of Ms Wohl’s books deal with the paranormal, you know things like shape shifters, vampires, etc. But when I read the synopsis for this one it didn’t mention any of these themes, so I decided I’d give this book a try and I’m so glad I did.
    Vi Akiak left her home in Alaska for the chance to get a medical degree, not to cure the ails of others but to enable her to take care of the dead.  While in Alaska she worked for the local  medical examiner's office so  getting  a similar job with the Spokane Medical Examiner’s office  was going to work out well with her classes at the Washington  University School. She had recently lost her Grandmother who’d raised her after the untimely death of her mother.   
     Kate(Kat) Renard  was living the dream. She used to work in the business sector but when her father won the lottery months before his death he bought her a small farm where she could do what she always dream of raising various animals while also working with the local Search and Rescue,  along with her dog Lucy. Somewhat introverted she found working with S&R  very rewarding helping to find people who were lost, injured or sometimes searching for the dead. She had a small house on her property that she rented out and luckly her new tenant was none other than Vi, a very pretty lady from Alaska.
    Now the two become involved working to find the Seeker, a serial killer, while falling in love. So with the help of Kat’s S&R team they use their skills to work together seeking justice for the victims left behind by the Seeker. Once I started reading, I found it hard to put the book down. Fast paced with just enough twists and turns make this a great read.  From now on I’ll have to give this author’s books a second look. Very, very nice read.
ARC via NetGalley/ Bold Stroke Books
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Wow! Action packed story told from multiple points of view.

I loved this book and cannot wait to read more by the author.

The plot revolves around Vi, a pathologist in training, Kat, a Search and Rescue volunteer, Kat's partner, Lucy, the wonder dog, Cerise, Kat's friend and fellow Search and Rescue volunteer, and of course, the psychopath serial killer. 

The plot builds quickly, friends are made fast, trust is earned and broken just as quickly.

And if you want more than chilling crime, sweet romance... well, then throw in family secrets and being able to see ghosts.

Reminds me of Katherine Forrest's Kate Delafield series.  I have already downloaded two additions books by this author.
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This book has a bit of thriller, a bit of paranormal and a bit of romance thrown in there. It follows Vi Akiak when she moves from Alaska to Spokane, Washtington where she'll work at the Medical Examiners office and start medical school to become a forensic pathologist. She rents a cabin from Kat, a K9 handler/farmer, and they get involved with a series of murders.

The paranormal part is Vi seeing dead people, the story is not leaning heavily on this subject so even if you dislike paranormal stuff it's no reason to not pick up this book. The thriller aspect with the serial killer is well written although you get to know who it is rather quickly since you also get chapters from his pov. Don't expect a romance book though, even the first kiss is off-page(!) and I personally dislike that. A lot. I get that this is not the usual romance novel, but if you do write book with two lead characters meeting, paying a lot of attention to their attraction for each other and describing the rising feelings against a back-drop of murders and a serial killer than I will expect that part to be fleched out better. As it is, it seemed a rather rushed going through the steps to get them into a relationship by the end of the book. 

So, if you like a decent thriller with a little bit of spirits mixed in and don't expect angst, romantic scenes and a lot of declarations of love then you're good with this book and it will give you a few enjoyable hours.
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Vi wants to earn her medical degree and not long after meeting her new neighbour, Kate who is a K9 handler, she wants her too. The only problem is there seems to be a killer on the loose. This thriller has spooky undertones that make it an intense page turner. You won't be able to put this book down.
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I really enjoyed this story and look forward to reading more books by this author. 

A crime close to home, search and rescue dogs, old murders and new come together to create a powerful story that might keep you on the edge of your seat.
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I really wanted to love this book but unfortunately it fell flat for me. I did not like that there was very little dialogue in the book. It felt like a continuous monologue which made for a slow read. In addition, the book switches between 3 points of view which caused major aspects to be left out such as the first kiss between the main characters. Even though this is a fiction novel, there were too many coincidences for this book to seem realistic.
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This is another really good paranormal thriller and I enjoyed it as much as I did ‘The Talebearer’. Vi moves from Alaska to Spokane to begin her medical degree and at the same time work in the Medical Examiner’s office. Her mother was murdered many years before which is what has made Vi choose the career she is following. She finds a lovely rental cottage on a farm in Spokane and it’s a bonus that the landlady, Kat, is smart and attractive. Kat is also K9 search and rescue handler with a dog that takes an instant liking to Vi. When a body is found by Kat and Lucy, which ends up at the medical examiner’s office, Kat and Vi are drawn into a search for a killer.

The story has a good pace and I was engaged from beginning to end. This type of paranormal thriller appeals to me, especially when the visions are subtle and an integral part of the story but not the focus. Kat and Vi’s relationship is a nice, easy one even though neither of them have lot of experience with relationships. It’s a gentle romance but with a stronger emphasis on the serial killer.

The Seeker (as he calls himself) has his own voice in the novel which made it fairly easy to pick out who he was but it doesn’t detract at all from the mystery or action. There’s a lovely balance of tension, nail-biting moments, gentle romance and unexpected aspects in this story.

Book received from Netgalley and Bold Strokes Books for an honest review.
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Ok. That was sorta weird. Totally disturbing, and very, very awesome.

It starts with a normal enough romance. Vi is coming to Washington State to get her medical degree and has a job in an ME's office as an ME Assistant. She's renting a cabin/house from her also neighbor on the property, Kate, who's a K9 search and rescue handler. (Her Search and Rescue Dog, Lucy, is an awesome, awesome character too).

Except. There is a killer on the loose. One who may have a connection to Vi. And so, along with two other characters, Vi and Kate sort of stumble into the case.

The characters were amazing. The supernatural tint was never overdone, and even the stuff from the killers point of view, while disturbing, was awesomely done as well.

It was a great book and a fun (and intense) read.

I received this book via Netgalley thanks to Bold Strokes Books.
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This is part of a multi-book review. 

This is the third in a loosely linked paranormal romance series set in Spokane, Washington.   I would recommend you read the first two, Necromantia and  The Tale Bearer; but, I would warn you not to read them one after the other as there is a definite pattern that works when read in isolation, but becomes annoying if read back-to-back or in a relatively short period of time.  This may be why I didn’t seem to enjoy this one as much as the previous books – sometimes OCD reading habits are a detriment.

Vi Akiak has moved to Spokane to attend medical school.  After the brutal murder of her mother, and because she’s visited by the dead, she has resolved to pursue a career as a medical examiner as a way of using her abilities to help others.  Alone and new in the city, she rents a small cottage from Kate Renard,  part time farmer and member of a K-9 Search and Rescue group.  As with the other books by Wohl, bodies start popping up with an alarming frequency – and Vi is stunned to find that the murder’s distinctive signature matches that found in her mother’s death.   Circe Latham and Zelda make a rather significant appearance in this book – linked to Kate as they are both part of the Search and Rescue team and linked to Vi in their ability to see the dead.

This is a pretty light read and follows a similar formula to the other books in the series and focuses more on the characters than the procedures or mystery/investigation with the murders.  The killer’s POV is included but I don’t know that it worked as well as it did in the previous books or maybe its just that I read them too closely together.   He’s no Jaguar (how bad is it that I loved the villain in the last book so much) and I may be reaching my level of credulity that there are so many smart serial killers in one town who are able to hide their crazy-ass selves so well and for so long.   If there are any more in Spokane – they better band together and go after Circe and her crew as they are pretty adept at uncovering hidden bodies.

The romance was light and PG – there was a bit of an instant attraction, reinforced by the fact that Kate’s dog approved of Vi as soon as she saw her, and they kind of hurtle forward in the story both in pursuing the murder investigation (omigod, Kate … you are an idiot sometimes) as well as in a relationship.   I actually found myself back-paging because I missed their first kiss and the fact that they actually had sex.   Things moved along so quickly and without a lot of depth and I just didn’t get the chance to really connect with the characters or the story.  I would have loved to see a bit more about Vi and her background, she should have been a much more riveting character based on her background, her abilities and how she has taken the chance to move from Alaska to Washington in order to pursue her goals.

Overall – a light paranormal romance with a psycho-killer and some great dogs.

Side Note: I’m seriously beginning to worry about Spokane – this city seems to be a mecca of bat-shit crazy serial killers who manage to run under the radar while they perpetrate gruesome murders.    Also, if I were a member of the Spokane police department, I would start wondering a bit about Circe and how often she stumbles across dead bodies – yeah, she’s a K-9 Search and Rescue volunteer, but don’t killers often insert themselves into investigations?  If nothing else, I’d put a tail (and full on CSI team) on her 24/7 as there is a high probability that she’s going to find another body.   In fact, I’d probably be looking closely at any lesbian with a dog in Spokane as suspect.
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