Cover Image: First Girl to Die (Detective Morgan Brookes Book 4)

First Girl to Die (Detective Morgan Brookes Book 4)

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You will have to excuse what is now going to be a complete gush fest over this book (sorry not sorry).

I love Detective Morgan Brookes and while this is a standalone story read from book 1 people as the whole series is just bloody fantastic. Morgan is yet again facing murders a little too close to home and feeling like she should change her name to Officer Death. This time it’s Brittany, an old friend from school who they didn’t quite get to in time before she threw herself out of a window at the primary school, where she worked as a teacher. To make matters worse when Morgan and her boss Ben went to inform Brittany’s father he dropped down dead from a heart attack.

Before you know it the bodies start multiplying and Morgan could give Jessica Fletcher a run for her money, as all the victims are well known to her and seem to be connected to an incident from years ago. With the victims all acting strange before their deaths it seems Morgan’s long lost Aunt and her herbal tea remedies could be to blame. It’s up to Morgan to prove her innocence but that could end up putting her in danger’s path AGAIN!

With the aunt’s pet Raven, her herbs and the police assuming guilt, the author cleverly made it into a witch hunt and with Halloween just around the corner it couldn’t have been more perfect. I agree with Amy what an absolute legend.

It was great to have all the regulars back including Declan the pathologist and with poisoning being suspected he finally gets the chance to really shine and have his own little Scooby Doo moment.

I really don’t want this series to end and I’m hoping that as Ben has messed up there is plenty more yet to come. I want them so badly to get together but I also dread the day they do in case it brings closure for both Morgan and the books.
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Detective Morgan Brookes takes all of her cases seriously. However, her newest case really hits her hard. She discovers that a young teacher who apparently took her life is someone she once knew and had a fondness for. Could this latest victim be tied to Morgan's past?

Although estranged from her former friend, Brittany, Morgan cannot picture her being the sort to commit suicide. As the autopsy results begin to come through, Morgan finds her suspicions true. Foul play was involved. Traces of poison were found in Brittany's blood. Who poisoned Brittany and how did that lead to Brittany jumping from a window to her death?

When a second victim that has been found is also from Morgan's past, pieces of a puzzle slowly begin to fall into place. Morgan traces the poison found to an unlikely source. Not only must Morgan find the connection, she must sort out why women from her past are targeted. Will Morgan herself soon be a target? How far will she go to find answers all while keeping herself safe?

In this thrilling story, Morgan is forced to face an event of five years previously and the fact that the two women involved now were involved then. Something terrible happened before, and it was a night that Morgan was not present, so she always had questions about what occurred that fateful night. Why are things coming up now that lead back to that night? 

Will there be yet another victim or will Morgan and her boss Ben be able to feverishly work toward solving the case set before them? Meanwhile, the torch is slowly burning between Morgan and Ben, and as this series continues, the pair just might have a chance. However, will Morgan end up being a victim before that could even happen?

This fast-paced book was a thrilling read from start to finish and ended with a conclusion I didn't see coming. While The First Girl to Die is the fourth book in this series, it could be read as a standalone. However, as this series has progressed, Morgan's character has grown, thus I would recommend reading this series in order. I cannot wait to see where things go with the next book in this exciting series. 

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.
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Thank you to Bookouture for my copy of this book via Netgalley and for letting me take part in this tour. This is the 4th book in the series but all can be read as standalone. I have read a few of Helen's books now and I really like her writing style it's so easy to be drawn into her books. 

Trouble seems to follow Detective Morgan Brookes. I don't know if she has a nose for it or if she's just damn unlucky. I like Morgan because she's so genuine and determined to find the truth. She has good instincts but always seems to get herself in such dangerous situations! 

This case was such a shocker. I did not see the final twist coming at all. Helen did an excellent job of dropping clues and red herrings throughout the book. It was so hard to work out what was going on and why. Helen had me hooked from very early on in this book. I loved flicking between now and 5 years ago, weaving the past into the story to give us the context and background. 

Morgan seemed to have turned a corner at the end of this book and I wonder what is going to be in stock for her next!
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DC Morgan Brookes is back in this fourth instalment from Helen Phifer. Morgan is called to the scene at a primary school when a schoolteacher and a friend, Brittany Alcott dies, believed to have committed suicide. Is this linked to a similar incident from their shared pasts?

This enthralling thriller moves at a rapid pace and has unpredictable misdirection. It is told from various points of view and both the investigation and Morgan’s troublesome personal life are intriguing plot threads. Set in the small town of Rydal Falls, Cumbria, the reader is treated to a fully rounded tale set in the present day but also with flashbacks to what Morgan supposes is the unknown catalyst event from 2016. The feelings between Morgan and Ben Matthews, her sergeant continue and there is plenty of drama, tension and suspense throughout. Many police procedural elements are incorporated ensuring I remained entrenched in the story with its well-disguised perpetrator and motive. First Girl to Die is a must for fans of realistic procedurals and Helen Phifer's superb and explosive writing continues to wow me. It will be interesting to see what's in store for DC Brookes in the next instalment.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel at my request from Bookouture via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.
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Review for 'First Girl To Die' by Helen Phifer. 

Read and reviewed via NetGalley for Helen Phifer, Bookouture publishers and Bookouture anonymous 

Publication date 11th October 2021.

This is the fifth book I have read by this author. It is also the fourth book in the 'Detective Morgan Brookes' series but can be read as a standalone. I have previously read 'The Hiding Place' (book 3 in this series) , 'The Girl In The Lake' (book 2 in the 'Beth Adams series),' The Killer's Girl' (book 2 in this series) or 'One Left Alive' (the first book in this series) which I also recommend anyone read. 

I was originally drawn to this book by its  eye catching cover and its intriguing synopsis and title. The synopsis stated that this book is 'An absolutely heart-stopping and unputdownable crime thriller, perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Lisa Regan and Rachel Abbott.' I am a huge fan of all three of this authors so am looking forward to seeing if this lives up to this statement. I am also a huge fan of Helen and if this is half as good as 'The Hiding Place' (book 3 in this series) , 'The Girl In The Lake' (book 2 in the 'Beth Adams series),' The Killer's Girl' (book 2 in this series) or 'One Left Alive' (the first book in this series) it is sure to be a page turning read. I must admit I was also biased due to the publisher being Bookouture. I have yet to read a book published by Bookouture  that I haven't enjoyed. Hopefully this won't be the first... Watch this space! (Written before I started reading the book).

This novel consists of a prologue and 50 chapters. The chapters medium in length so possible to read 'just one more chapter' before bed...OK, I know yeah right, but still just in case!

This book is based in Cumbria, UK 🇬🇧 The bonus for me of books that are partly or fully based in the UK is that I live in the UK and have sometimes visited places mentioned in the book which makes it easier to picture. I have actually been on holidays to Cumbria so it will help me picture everything. 

This book is written in third person perspective with the main protagonists being Detective Constable Morgan Brooks, Detective Sergeant Ben Matthews,  Detective Constable Amy Smith and the pathologist Declan . The benefits of third person perspective with multiple perspectives are that it let's you see the bigger picture of what's going on and you get to know more characters more, what they are thinking and what they are doing. It feels like you get to see the whole picture and not miss out in anything. 

Wow!!! Just Wow!!! I did not see that one coming!!! Yet another absolutely unputdownable page turning book from the extremely talented Helen Phifer!!! Fantastically written and such an addictive and compelling read. Excellent descriptions making it so easy to imagine what's going on. The book cover and synopsis suit the storyline perfectly. 

The storyline is an absolute roller-coaster ride filled with suspense, crime, drama, red herrings and is a very good psychological thriller that kept me up until late at night. Did not see that one coming at all so well done Helen. It gets harder and harder to surprise me when it comes to crime books after reading so many yet that was a shocker. I loved the twist and just loved watching it all unfold. The storyline itself was very realistic and I would say that Helen has done quite alot of research in regards to procedure plus more which shines through when your reading. I loved how the book ended especially the last bombshell dropped on me and am looking forward to see how the next one plays out. I must add that I absolutely LOVED the Angela Marsons reference and several other references through the book to films such as 'Buddy The Elf' and 'Nightmare on Elm Street'. 

Although this is the fourth book in the series I had absolutely no problems reading it without the others. Any details or events that have previously happened are mentioned in just the right amount of detail to let a new reader know what has happened and yet not too much to bore a previous reader. 

It is set over multiple time lines. When books show what has happened in the past and what is happening in the present I find it really helps the reader (if it is well done) understand why things are happening and what has lead to the present activities and decisions. It also shows the bigger picture. 

I loved meeting all the characters again. The characters were all very strong and the fact that Morgan and Amy are such strong females was definitely a bonus with me being female myself. I loved Amy and Morgan and her relationship with Ben and would love to read more about her. I'd love to read more about Ben, Morgan and a few others actually. I am looking forward to see what becomes of the relationship between Ben and Morgan also and I liked the way they had quite similar histories. I also enjoyed the progression of friendship between Morgan and Cain who I really liked and enjoyed getting to know more in this book. I'm intrigued to know if anything will happen between them and actually hope it will as I believe Ben is looking to be a bit of a lost cause for her now especially after a certain thing happened, I won't say anymore as I don't want to spoil it for future readers. I had fun watching the sarcasm and snipes between Amy and Detective Des and enjoyed getting to know him a bit more in this book too. I absolutely LOVE Amy with her sarcastic say it as it is, larger than life personality and I loved meeting her again. Declan the pathologist is another big character for me and I really love his funny yet caring and compassionate personality. I love him more and more with each epic, suspense filled addictive page turning novel in this series!! 

Well done in another massive success Helen and here is to the next success in an amazing series 🥂 🎈 💐. This is EXACTLY why your one of my favourite authors!!!! 😍 

Overall another action packed, page turning, gripping, suspense filled edge of your seat must read by the legend that is Helen Phifer!!  

Some of my favourite quotes/sayings in this book include the following:

📖 "While waiting for Susie, he went back to his egg mayo and tomato sandwich, his feet on the desk as he read the latest instalment in the Detective Kim Stone series by one of his favourite writers, Angela Marsons; although he reckoned that their very own Morgan Brookes was giving Kim a run for her money with all the disasters and murders that she seemed to attract to their relatively rural part of Cumbria."

Genres covered in this novel include Romance Novel, Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Hardboiled, Noir Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Police Procedural and Crime Fiction amongst others. 

I would recommend this book to the fans of the above as well as fans of Angela Marsons, Carol Wyer, CL Taylor, Tess Gerritson and anyone looking for an epic read. 

293 pages.

This book is just £1.99 to purchase on kindle via Amazon which I think is an absolute bargain for this book!!! 

Rated 5 /5 (I LOVED it ) on Goodreads, Instagram, Amazon UK and Amazon US and on over 30 Facebook pages plus my blog on Facebook. 

Feel free to add me on Goodreads or follow me on my website or Facebook for more reviews 

#FirstGirlToDie #Bookouture  #HelenPhifer #NetGalley #BookReview #BlogTour #BooksOnTour
@HelenPhifer @Bookouture @Bookworm1986 @bookworm86
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This is the first book in the series I have read, although I have read other books by this author before, so I know that I am in for a good read!

Morgan is a young police officer who finds herself at the scene of an apparent suicide. Unfortunately, she was friends with the victim, when they were teenagers. As time goes on and more of her friend group are found to be poisoned, Morgan is in a race against time to find who is doing it. Does it mean, though, that she is also at risk? Inbetween trying to solve this challenging case, Morgan is trying to figure out how she feels about Ben, and vice versa.

A solid police procedural and I wish I had read the other books in the series now, although you can easily read this book as a standalone.

4.5 stars from me.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture.
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This book was a page turner from beginning to end. Things are not what they seem and will have you guessing until the end.  I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
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The fourth installment of Detective Constable Morgan Brookes. This time, our dear Morgan is faced with a series of terrible events that puts everything she thought she knew in question. She gets called to a school where she find one of her high school best friends, and now teacher, acting weird, threatening to jump from the building and making everyone concerned. When Morgan attempts to talk to her, her friend opened the window and jump to her death. Incredibly concerned and heart broken, Morgan and her team begin their investigation and less than 48 hours later another friend from the high school group is severely injured, making Morgan suspicious. Something or someone is coming after her ex friend. All fingers are pointed towards someone very close and dear to Morgan, she know it can’t be possible. The question is, Who will be next? And, Will she get to them on time to prevent the worst from happening? 

Phew. What a roller coaster, this book. I really enjoyed reading the fourth book of this series. I have not read the previous ones and I feel like you don’t need to read them in order to be able to get through it. 

I did felt like there were some repetitive sentences and scenarios where our main character were just repeating the same things. It’s very subtle, so it’s not a big deal. I’m just picky when it comes to conversations in books or when the point of view changes and we read the same thing worded differently. 

There’s a lot to unpack in this book. There were some part that were so well put together that made you consider looking at everything from another perspective or make you look the other way when you already thought you knew who the culprit was. I like when authors are able to introduce a sentence or scenario that makes you look not as hard in a character’s direction. 

I honestly didn’t think the culprit was who it turned out to be. It caught me a bit off guard. I was suspicious of how everything was developing at the end but still gasped a little when it all unfolded. I still have questions and I want to read the first books to know about Morgan. I think that the group of friends were still way too attached to what happened 5 years ago. It didn’t make sense that they would still be talking about a high school crush the way it was involved in the story. Part of me was saying “Girl, get over it!”. Didn’t even seem like a serious detective novel a some point, but overall it was a really enjoyable read.
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This book is number 4 in the series and it is another great read! This story follows Detective Morgan going to the scene of a suspected suicide and realizing she knew the girl from school. Even more suspiciously, she gets a call about an incident in regards to another girl she knew from school. Time is of the essence as she has to figure out what this means and why all the victims are friends of hers from school. 

This is a great story that had me guessing throughout. I love when I can't immediately figure out "whodunnit". There were a few twists and turns throughout the story as well. I highly recommend this series and to start at the beginning to understand the character development. 

** I was given a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for my unbiased review**
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When the police are called to a primary school because a young teacher is acting erratically Morgan is shocked to find that she is one of her old school friends. Tragically she is unable to stop Brittany from jumping to her death. Morgan & her friends lost touch after the tragic death of Brad, who had fallen to his death from a crag after the group had gone for an unsanctioned sleepover at the beauty spot. Morgan had been grounded so she never witnessed the event. Another of the group is found half naked & semi conscious at the spot. Brad's tragedy is a link but when both of them are found have speciality teas in their possession Morgan is horrified as she creator of these teas is the one person she has relied on since she was very young. 

This is a fast paced police procedural that kept me guessing. I really love this series of books & am always excited to see what hoops Helen Phifer is going to put her through this time! I'm already looking forward to the next one. Thanks to Netgalley & the publisher for letting me read & review this book.
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The Fourth book to feature Detective Morgan Brookes and another fantastic five star read. Gripping, full of tension and suspense. Hooked from the first to the last page and finally turned the last page at 1.30am. Yes this book is that good. This series keeps going from strength to strength. I had no idea who the killer was until the big reveal and I was shocked and yes I got it wrong. A fantastic plot and this author certainly knows how to tell a story. Another explosive addition to this gripping and very addictive series. Another MUST READ!!!!
Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC in return for giving an honest review.
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Just fabulous!   Loved this book, it’s such a great series and this book did not disappoint.  The story was absolutely thrilling that kept me on the edge of my seat holding my breath in places.  Helen Phifer is a master storyteller and one of my favourite authors, I would totally recommend that you buy this book it’s great. A big fat five stars from me.  Start with book one you won’t regret it!
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Thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley, too,
For my copy of this book, here's my honest review:

This is a brilliant Crime Thriller
Complete with a serial killer
In Cumbria, England, the story is set
And this could be the best one yet!

Detective Morgan Brookes is called to the school
Where a member of staff is acting weird and not cool.
It turns out she's Morgan's old school friend
But she's too late to prevent her tragic end.

She is the first girl to die
To prevent any others Morgan will try
But strange happenings put all at risk
Unless the case solving is very brisk.

There are clues and red herrings, too
To tantalise and confuse both me and you.
There's definitely a link to a tragic death in the past
But who is involved and will this be the last?

This is an intriguing case to keep you guessing
With old friends involved and time is pressing
There's links to Morgan's aunt, who makes herbal teas
But she's harmless and caring - Morgan hopes all will agree!

What happened at the party, that night long ago?
To find out the truth seems imperative although
As folks connected to Morgan are so involved too
Removing her from the team is what they'll do.

I thoroughly enjoyed these fascinating cases
Exploring relationships and all the different places.
If you enjoy getting involved in solving cases of crime 
I highly recommend you give reading this book some of your time!
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4.5 stars

First Girl to Die by Helen Phifer is the 4th in the Detective Morgan Brookes series.

First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher Bookouture, and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Series Information: (Warning – May contain spoilers from previous books)
Morgan Brookes has always dreamed of being a detective. As a rookie officer, she finds the body of a woman, and is catapulted into the Crime Investigation Department under the direction of DS Ben Matthews, where she will work with him, Amy and Des.  After losing her mother, she finally got to know her dad, but Stan is now dead.  Meanwhile, she has learned that her biological father is a rapist and a killer, and is now in prison.

My Synopsis:   (No major reveals, but if concerned, skip to My Opinions)
When Morgan and Ben arrive at a school, she is stunned to find she knows the teacher who just jumped or fell out the window.  She had been a high school friend.  The other teachers say that Brittany had been acting really strange prior to barricading herself into the room.

When another high school friend ends up in the hospital after erratic behaviour, Morgan quickly ties the two incidents together.  Could this possibly have something to do with their friend that died during a high school camping trip many years ago?

Unfortunately, both friends had both ingested tea provided by Morgan's aunt.  Could someone be setting her aunt up, or does bad blood continue to run through her family.

Then there is the fact that Morgan's biological father has escaped from prison.

My Opinions:   
Well, this series is back on track after a slight blip in the last book.  This was really good.

Again, the plot was good,  and the short chapters and non-stop action make for a very fast read.  I had guessed wrong about the identity of the perpetrator, and that made it great!

Character-wise, I like the team, and they work well together.  I absolutely love Morgan's Aunt, but I am not really thrilled with the relationship between Ben and Morgan.  I was actually rooting for them, but now, not so much.

Anyway, this was a great addition to the series, and I'm already looking forward to the next one!
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First girl to die by Helen Phifer. 
Detective Morgan Brookes book 4.
Morgan shudders as she leans out of the window and takes in the familiar blonde curls and clear blue eyes of the fallen girl below. She knows this woman, and she realises with sickening certainty that her friend is now gone forever…
When Detective Morgan Brookes is called to the scene of a suicide, she’s devastated to recognise the young teacher sprawled out on the grass like a broken doll. She hasn’t seen Brittany for years. Not since the tragic death of Morgan’s high-school boyfriend ripped their friendship group apart. But when witnesses describe Brittany’s erratic behaviour and jumbled speech that morning, Morgan is convinced the fearless, life-loving girl she once knew didn’t jump of her own accord.
Traces of poison found in Brittany’s blood prove Morgan’s theory right, but no one can find the source. Then Morgan uncovers a distinctive jar in Brittany’s home filled with toxic herbs, and the sight of it turns her blood to ice. She has a jar just like it, a handmade gift from her aunt. Is this a coincidence, a set-up, or could the only person she’s ever trusted with her damaged past be capable of murder?
Then another woman from Morgan’s past is found, close to the scene of that fatal teenage party. Has Morgan been looking at this all wrong? Are these deaths connected to that deadly night? And how could someone from her own family possibly be involved?
With her aunt’s freedom and more innocent lives at stake, Morgan must dig deep into her painful memories for answers. Who else was there that night, and what exactly did they see? She must stop this twisted killer before any more of her old friends become new victims – but at what cost?
I really really enjoyed this book.  Even though I haven't read the first 3 books I was able to Read this one. Great story and characters. I hope there is more to come.  5*.
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I love all of Helen's work and always ensure I have no plans just so I can sit and read her books. In this latest novel in the Morgan Brookes series she gives us an insight into Morgans schooldays. Morgan and Ben are called to a primary school where a young teacher is acting out of character and threatening suicide. Sadly they are too late and Morgan discovers the teacher was a school friend. Later in the day another school friend also acts strangely. Who is targeting these friends and what link does it have to the past? And is Morgan the next victim?
I can't wait for the next installment.
I also loved to see the reference to another great Bookouture author Angela Marsons and a great site for booklovers Tea Leaves and Reads mentioned in the book. 
Many thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture and Heken Phifer for the opportunity to read this advanced copy in exchange for my honest review
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Book 4  in the Detective Morgan Brookes series was another absolute cracker of a read in which js  fast becoming one of my favourite detective series.  From the prologue I was completely gripped by this book.  I love when I’m reading a book and have absolutely no idea who the guilty party could be as was what happened in this book. This is a fast paced and gripping crime thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat.
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Another brilliant book from Helen Phifer. 
Morgan and Ben are called out when a teacher is behaving erratically and Ben is asked to negotiate to stop her from jumping from the window. 
Morgan realises she knows the woman as they were friends at school so tries to talk to her, but she is not in her right mind, and throws herself out of the window. 
Their investigation leads them to a herbal remedy the woman had been taking and Ben is convinced it caused her strange behaviour. 
Morgan knows who made the herbal mixture and knows deep down that her Aunt Ettie would not harm anyone. 
Another woman is found acting strangely by the caves and Morgan is shocked to realise it’s another old friend from school. 
She can’t work out why her group of friends are being targeted and Ben warns her to be careful, as the killer could have her in their sights. 
This is a gripping crime thriller that certainly kept me guessing. 
Thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.
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An absorbing mystery until the very end. Detective Morgan Brookes is called to the scene of a suicide. Saddened by the woman’s death, she is shocked when she recognizes her as a former school friend. They learn that the woman was acting strange before she jumped and was taking an herbal remedy for a health issue. Unfortunately, this leads them to Morgan’s Aunt Ettie, a local woman who makes and sells natural herb remedies. Morgan knows that there is no way her aunt would have given the woman anything harmful. When another of Morgan’s friends is found acting strange and almost dies, Morgan knows that she needs to solve the case before someone else dies or her aunt ends up in prison. Years ago, Morgan’s friends attended a party where a popular boy fell from the top of a cave and was killed. Is someone blaming her friends for his death and getting their revenge after all these years? If so, who will be next? I received an advance review copy at no cost and without obligation for an honest review. (by paytonpuppy)
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Absolutely amazing! A speeding rollercoaster start to finish. I love the character Morgan and this author creates such a rich story with amazing characters. The story was so fast paced and well written. I could not put this book down. It was simply astounding. The end had me holding my breath till the last page. So well done.
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