Cover Image: The Widowmaker

The Widowmaker

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Thank you to NetGalley, Hannah Morrissey and St Martin’s Press for the free e-book in exchange for an honest review.

I didn’t know what to expect with this one since I haven’t read any of this authors other novels - but they were all rave reviews for Hello Transcriber so I took a risk. It took me a long time to get into this one and although there are lots of twists, it seemed a bit hard for me to connect to any of the characters or the story. Just not really for me.

Was this review helpful?

I was back and forth on my rating for this one. The beginning was a bit slow, then things got incredibly good, and then it sort of tapered off again. I wanted a faster pace, but it was still an enjoyable read.

My favourite storyline was definitely Morgan’s. She was so fascinating to me! Learning about her past and The Ruins was so intense, and I loved the darkness of it all.

Hudson was also a great character, but his POV just didn’t draw me in the same (although the truth about his brother was very interesting!).

If you enjoy police procedurals and a slow burn murder mystery, I would highly recommend this one! That type of thriller isn’t always my thing, and I think that’s why I struggled more with this one. Overall, great writing and some solid twists!

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for my gifted copy.

Was this review helpful?

The Widowmaker by Hannah Morrissey is a Black Harbor mystery in the same universe as Hello, Transcriber. I loved that book, so I almost cannot blame The Widowmaker for not living up to its predecessor.

In this book, readers meet photographer Morgan Mori (great symbolism) who returns home, witnesses a murder, and finds herself in a precarious position.

Many thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for sharing this book with me. All thoughts are my own.

Was this review helpful?

I received this book as an ARC and this is my review. Wow! This story starts out at top speed and never slows down! The twists and turns will give you whiplash! The characters are loaded with flaws and they are interesting. I totally recommend this book to readers who enjoy a well-done psychological thriller with action from beginning to end.

Was this review helpful?

This is the second book by this author. The first being Hello, Transcriber, which I haven't read yet. I hope too.

This story is told by Morgan, a photographer, and Hudson who is a cop. It starts out with Morgan fleeing Chicago and going back home to Black Harbor.

Morgan is hired to photograph the Reynolds family's Christmas party. They are rich and Morgan could make a lot of money doing this. She was a gift for the mother from her son Bennett. I wondered for a while just who gives another human as a gift but with this story I found out. Not a gift in an ugly way mind you. The gift of the party being photographed. Bennett knew who Morgan was in Chicago though he had not met her until she arrived at their family home. Morgan is greeted with open arms by most of the Reynolds family but there are a couple who have very sinister feelings toward her.

Morgan had a horrible upbringing. She was left with an aunt who was cruel to her after her mother deserted her. Her dad abandoned her also. Her parents were not married but it seemed they might have loved each other a bit. But did either care about Morgan really? I actually loved how Morgan's aunt died though I think she should have suffered. Maybe she did. Imagination can help here. Morgan is also described in a kind of goth way. The way she dresses and the piercings she has. Or she's just very expressive maybe. She sounded very pretty and tough. I liked her a lot. She was not a whinny type person. She was one that did what she had to to survive.

Hudson we meet at the scene of his best friend and partner's murder. He is a bit sick about it. Literally. Detective Garrison was gunned down in a connivence store during what appears to be a robbery. Hudson and Garrison had been partners for a long time and Garrison was like a father to Hudson. He was determined to bring justice for Garrison's family. Of course he could not work on the case and was put on a cold case, what happened to Hudson Reynolds.. Did he just up and leave or was he dead?

Hudson has, what I found to be, a horrible family. His mother seems to hate that he's a good guy while his brother is the towns biggest drug dealer. Go figure right. Hudson has a history also but not a bad one. He has suffered a couple of losses that are so sad. I felt for him and really liked him. He is described as a bit on the nerdy side. Not that he's not tough but he's not described as your typical buffed up big headed cop. He wants to know who killed Garrison. He wants to know what happened to Reynolds. He won't stop until there is closure.

Hudson and Morgan meet the night his partner is killed. She was a witness in a way. She saw something that will help bring justice for Garrison. Maybe even bring justice for things that happened to her as a child.

There are things in this book about child sexual abuse and just abuse that are not vivid but you get the gest of it. You know what happened. In a way there was a little bit of justice at The Ruin. Just a bit though. I'll never understand how a family member can let these things happen to anyone much less a little child but it does happen. Grownups can be so cruel. Sick grownups. Ugly grownups. Horrible ones. There is also the cop killing. He put his life on the line every single day and right before his retirement he was killed. I felt so bad for him and his family. I did like finding out what his final three words meant. It helped.

This book gives closure with most of what is going on. I did wish it had more about the Reynolds and whether they got to know Morgan better. Or how they felt about what she did to survive. Or what they felt about a family member or members doing things. I also wish the very ending would have told me whether someone arrived. My guess is yes. And only good things happened after that.

This book has some emotion in it. It's sad in lots of places. It's about murder, child abuse, child sexual abuse, family secrets, acceptance maybe. Closure possibly. Closure for two families anyway. Also and by far not least adoption. How one family took in a child that needed a lot of care and patience. I liked this family, especially the grandpa.

Thank you #NetGalley, #HannahMorrissey, #StMartinsPress #Minatourbooks for this ARC. This is my own true thoughts about this book.

4 stars and I recommend it. It will keep you wondering for sure.

Was this review helpful?

This story from Morrissey is dark and gritty. Morgan has a horrible past of child abuse. The descriptions of Black Harbor are bleak. The characters all seem to be searching for light and unable to find it.

There are family secrets - old and new. Morrissey does a nice job with the slow reveal. You never know who the killer is until the end - and you probably won't guess. Crazy ending to this one.

Some excellent crime fiction from Morrissey.

Was this review helpful?

his is a dark and twisty tale of family secrets. The author pulls you in from the very first chapter, which is a bit mysterious and refers to events in the near past that only get clarified later in the book. The female main character, Morgan, has had a terrible childhood and it has affected her greatly. She is now in her early 30s, trying to make a living as a photographer in her home town. The male main character, Hudson, is a young police investigator with a secret in his past. The action takes place in a dismal city in Wisconsin, somewhere on Lake Michigan, called Black Harbor, in and around Christmas time. Hudson’s former partner, Garrison, is killed and we gradually find out all the links between a 20-year-old cold case involving the Reynolds, the city’s richest family, Hudson, Garrison and Morgan.

Content warning: child abuse/sexual assault in the past

The author has written a previous book that also takes place in Black Harbor but this is not being promoted as a series and I read and devoured her first book, Hello, Transcriber. The WIdowmaker was no different, I loved and devoured it.

Thank you to Macmillan Audio and NetGalley for the opportunity to listen to an advance copy of this audiobook and to Minotaur Books and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advance reader copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

Was this review helpful?

when photographer Morgan Mori business burns down she is forced to return home to Black Harbor, the place of her nightmarish childhood. After a Christmas shoot at the home of the town's wealthiest',family she witnesses an armed robbery and the shooting of a popular cop. Detective Ryan Hudson mourns the loss of his friend who he discovers is working on a cold case ... the disppearance of Clive Reynolds years ago. He is drawn to Morgan but finds her statement sketchy. When Clive's 1978 Porche "the Widowmaker" is pulled from the lake the cold case gets red hot. This was a dark, intense twisty read although readers should be warned there is child and sexual abuse and violence. Morgan is an interesting character damaged but strong and resilient despite her past trauma while Ryan is also battling conflict and a dark family history. Their joint effort to get to the bottom of the crimes both past and present is an engaging and compelling narrative. This is the second of the Black Harbor series and my first from this author but plan to seek out the first entry "Hello Transcriber".

Was this review helpful?

3.5 stars

The Widowmaker starts out slow. Morgan just moved from Chicago and starts a new photography business. She is contacted by the Reynolds, a local and powerful family, to photograph their Christmas party. That same night, she witnesses a murder.

Detective Ryan Hudson wants to solve the murder of his former partner. A long buried clue to a cold case turns up during the current investigation. Are the cases connected?

Both MC have secrets of their own and interesting histories. The book kept me guessing and the mysteries were dark and captivating.

Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press, and Minotaur Books for this book. The Widowmaker came out Dec 6th, 22 and makes for a great winter thriller.

Was this review helpful?

Loved this one! Dark, gritty, and compelling. It was suspenseful and it kept me guessing until the end.

Was this review helpful?

I wasn’t sure what to expect going in to this book. On the one hand the blurb appealed to me. On the other hand, I wasn’t overly impressed with “Hello, Transcriber,” the author’s previous work and the first book in this series.

I do admit, this one was a bit better. The characters were ok, if unlikeable, and the premise of the story was interesting. Thought it was a little slow at the beginning and there were moments when it felt like big leaps were happening. Also extra info was included in the story that I felt was unnecessary and just muddled the storyline a bit.

Overall, not a bad book, but not my favorite. May recommend this to others depending on their taste, but might do it with a word of warning on how I felt.

I received this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Fairly easy to figure out the bad person in this story but then more to come. Was a fast and okay read. Believability was somewhat lacking but that is what makes it fiction. Family drama at its best or worst. You'll need to read to figure that out.

Was this review helpful?

This book intrigued me since it is a police procedural and investigates a cold case. However, I did find it dragged and was repetitive in some parts. The main character definitely has a dark and horrible past, which to be honest I didn't really see the merit in making it that dark other than for "shock" factor for lack of better words. I also found certain aspects of this story a bit unlikely. Overall, it was an ok story but be warned it has some very dark subject matter.

I switched back and forth between the audiobook and ebook. The narration of the audiobook was good but there were several little twists along the way that I feel I would've appreciated maybe more if I had read the entire thing physically.

Content warnings: Child abuse, including pedophilia (this part was particularly hard to read), prostitution, sexual assault, graphic violence, death.

Thanks to NetGalley and St-Martin's Press for the ARC. All opinions are my own.

Was this review helpful?

This psychological thriller has all the vibes of a dark and twisty Nordic Noir even though it’s set in the Midwest. Morgan Mori is a woman trying to right the ways of her past. When she is offered a photography gig for a well known family’s Christmas party, she believes her situation is finally looking up. Unfortunately, Morgan has secrets and so does the family who hired her, but are these secrets connected?

Ryan Hudson, is a detective, who recently suffered a tremendous loss. He’s been reassigned to a cold case due to new evidence. This new information will connect him with Morgan and cause all kinds of secrets to bubble up! 4.5 stars

Was this review helpful?

4.5/5 stars (rounded up to 5 on here)

Thank you NetGalley and Minotaur Books for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review!
A wealthy family shrouded in scandal; a detective tasked with solving an impossible cold case; and a woman with a dark past collide.
Wow! Where to even begin with this book. This is the first book that I’ve read by Hannah Morrissey but I will definitely be picking up her first one, Hello, Transcriber to read! I thought Morrissey did a fantastic job with the various mysteries in this book and the characters working together to solve them. She kept you guessing up until the very end, which I absolutely loved. She brings the reader in a dark, unique atmosphere of the book and doesn’t let you go. There are definitely some trigger warnings to this book. So if you are one who doesn’t do as much dark and sinister mysteries, then this might not be for you. However, I absolutely LOVED how dark it was and how it explored the dark aspects of humanity.

I also loved how she set this book during Christmas time, so while the mysteries are focusing on the dark aspects, you still have some light topics for the reader at times. I absolutely loved the MC, Morgan, and how Morrissey focuses on her past trauma and how that makes her the person that she is today! Overall, I would highly recommend this book to anyone wanting a dark mystery/thriller!
This review will be posted to my Instagram blog (read_betweenthecovers) in the near future!

Was this review helpful?

I thought that this book was really good! This is the second book in the Black Harbor series but it works perfectly well as a stand-alone novel since the only connection between the two books is the setting and a few characters. This book juggled a couple of mysteries and I had no idea how anything would turn out in the end. I just love it when a book can keep me guessing and this one had some very surprising moments.

This story is told from two different points of view. Ryan Hudson is an investigator with the local police department. He has been assigned the cold case of Clive Reynolds’s disappearance twenty years earlier but he is also desperate to solve the recent murder of his former partner. Morgan Mori is a photographer who is hired to photograph a party for the Reynolds family only to stumble upon a crime at a convenience store on her way home. There is more going on than either Hudson or Morgan can imagine and they may both have a few secrets of their own.

I liked the characters in this book because they kept me guessing until the very end. Hudson and Morgan both had very interesting histories and I liked the unlikely team they formed, along with Seargent Kole. It was really interesting to see the mysteries unravel and I loved it as each piece of the puzzle fell into place. There was plenty of excitement to go around and once I hit the midpoint of the book, I found it almost impossible to set aside.

I would recommend this book to others. I thought that this was a very well-done mystery that contained some darker themes. I look forward to reading more of Hannah Morrissey’s work in the future.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Minotaur Books.

Was this review helpful?

I loved Hannah Morrissey's first book, Hello, Transcriber. So, in a similar vein, The Widowmaker seems to call upon the author's experience which brings a great deal of background knowledge to the story which follows two seemingly unrelated cases: a cold case going back at least 20 years in which a wealthy man goes missing, and a current day case when a cop is gunned down in cold blood.

The story meandered a bit, alluding to burned down structures, a charred key, and a dark past, so it took me a while to understand what was going on. But as you get to know the main character, you start to feel for the main character, Morgan Mori, and what she has gone through in her life. After she gets tangled up in not one, but two crimes, she becomes the pivotal chess piece. But not everyone has her best interests.

This is a story that will stay with you long after you've read it.

Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for an advanced reader's copy.

Was this review helpful?

I really loved the Translator but this book, set in the same story world with a cameo appearance by one character, had themes that just weren't for me.

Content warning for child abuse/grooming.

There have been a lot of recent mysteries and thrillers about rich people behaving badly, and I think I'm just not into that unless it's done in a particular way. This one was just a little too dark and twisted. This was a dual narrative book told by a police officer thrown into anger and grief over the murder of his former partner and a girl who takes a job as an event photographer for a rich family in town and then, inexplicably, starts receiving flirty texts from the son of the family. Of course he's up to something. All the family is, and it's nothing good.

I did like the police procedural storyline (and the two storylines do converge) but I struggled a lot with this one. I remain a Hannah Morrissey fan, but this particular title just wasn't a good fit for me.

Was this review helpful?

My Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

To start, I think it is worth mentioning that while the details aren't gratitious, there are mentions of child abuse (both physical and sexual). This abuse is what makes Morgan the way she is, and has caused her to do some of the things that she has prior to the events of this story taking place.

I enjoyed her character, the way she sees the world, and her uncanny ability to unnerve the people around her. It made her stand out from a lot of the other characters that I have read recently. I also enjoyed Ryan's character. He was flawed in a way that made sense. When his best friend is guned down in an apparent robbery, he is unable to just walk away from the case even though he's not investigating it. I feel like his reactions and reasonings made sense, and I found that he and Morgan had an interesting dynamic when they were on the page together.

I was also intrigued by the Renyold's family dynamic. Their affection for each other came across clearly, as did their many eccentricities. In fact, I would have been curious to get more of the family's reaction once the truth came out. How would Elenor especially react to learning the truth of what happened to her husband all those years ago?

So what may you ask kept this from being a 4 star (or higher) review? Sadly, it was the final showdown of all things. Yes, you read that right. That moment that the entire book was leading up to is what ruined it. And no, it wasn't ruined because of WHO was behind it, although that in itself was a bit weird.

No, it lost me with the sheer improbability of things. Despite all of the times I had already suspended disbelief in order to overlook some things (I mean, what kind of cop hears the things that happened at "The Ruins" and overlooks it, justified as it may have been)? But the detail the author went into describing how Morgan was shot in the chest, (feeling her ribs explode), there would have been no way she could have gotten up and run away from her attacker, nor do any of the other things she did that lead up the killer ending up where they did. Which was a darn shame because the buildup of who was behind things had kept me glued to the pages.

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.

Was this review helpful?

In Black Harbor police officer Ryan Hudson’s patrol partner is fatally shot during a convenience store robbery. Morgan Mori, who is in Black Harbor for a photo shoot, ends up being an eyewitness to the crime.

The characters are definitely flawed. And as Ryan and Morgan share insights in chapters that bounce back and forth between them we learn just how scared they are.

It’s a dark story and one which contains child abuse, a possible trigger for some.

As the two main characters start working together on solving the death of Ryan’s partner, a new mystery weaves its way into the mix. Was Morgan summoned to photograph a prominent family for another reason? My interest was piqued. At this point all is good.

My Concerns
As I mentioned earlier, I had trouble with the flow.

But above all, it lacked believability.

And then the ending? By the time I got there, it was fairly obvious who had done what. But then a large amount of space was spent overexplaining. By the time I closed my Kindle I felt pretty much nothing.

Final Thoughts
I will definitely give the next book in the series a try.

This is probably a book that you'll whiz through and accept the characters and all the twists and turns. Or you'll find it lacking.

My thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for an advance copy of this ebook and the ability to review it without any stipulations.

Was this review helpful?