Cover Image: The Widowmaker

The Widowmaker

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Member Reviews

The Widowmaker is a standalone story that transports the reader back to Black Harbor, WI-- the same location as Morrissey's last novel, Hello, Transcriber. It's a police procedural told in two perspectives--Morgan, a photographer with a dark past who recently returned to her hometown Black Harbor; and Hudson, an investigator with the Black Harbor PD who is investigating two cases--the cold case disappearance of the town's wealthiest man 20 years ago, and the recent murder of his former partner.

I've said it before and I will reiterate, I love Morrisey's writing. Her descriptions, her word choice, and the flow of her writing bring her books to another level for me. There is a beauty in her writing that I just really appreciate.

The characters in this story were really interesting and felt very realistic. I was heartbroken over Morgan's backstory and was rooting for her the whole time. The mystery was gripping, and I just needed to find out what happened.

Like I said in a previous post, if you're a thriller lover looking for a Christmas book to read, grab your cozy blanket and your black coffee and head to Black Harbor with The Widowmaker!

⚠️Please check the trigger warnings prior to reading, or DM me with questions!

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Hannah Morrissey has done it again! You are transported right back to Black Harbor, with that feeling of dread and cold that I can't get over. We get alternating POV between Morgan and and Detective Hudson as they both navigate horrible things that have happened them and to find out the truth. Dark, twisty, and full of secrets I couldn't put The WidowMaker down as I tried to piece it all together. The past slowly comes out through the story and you think you know what happened but you don't! The characters pull you in and you get so attached to their depth and their background stories. You really feel for them both and others as this wild ride undoes itself. I loved how this is connected to first book because we get more of Kole but that its own stand alone!
4.5 stars
Thank you to Minotaur Books and Netgalley for my review copy!

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This book has all the things I love in a mystery/ suspense! Flawed narrator, rich family with questionable history, new murder case with a cold case, good cop… need I say more? I really enjoyed how this story unfolded and I did not see the ending coming! There were so many possibilities in my head and I did not see what actually happened as one of them! This is book 2 in a series but I never would have known that reading it. It works great as a stand alone novel!

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Check out the video I made for the book on TikTok @katherinebichler. Here is the link:


This is a thriller. It is the second book in the series. However, you do not need to read the first one to know what is going on. I did not and it is a completely new story line o was not confused at all.

The book is set during the Christmas season. Morgan receives a key tied to a red balloon along with a cryptic note. Meanwhile, a cold case gets unearthed that has ties to Morgan after she witnesses the murder of a cop. Someone wants Morgan dead and it’s not who you think.

This was my first book by Morrissey and I really liked it. It was a little predictable, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying it and picking up on the subtle clues throughout. I liked the holiday thriller premise a lot.

I would definitely read more from this author! 🗝️❄️📷

Thank you to Minotaur Books for the advance reader copy!

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• gritty police procedural
• dual POV
• intriguing, flawed characters

Back to Black Harbor! I switched between the physical and audio versions. The narration was very well done. Dark and heavy subject matter with chilling writing. This book is the perfect winter thrill ride!

🗣️ Thank you to @netgalley @stmartinspress and for the opportunity to read and review this book via gifted eARC and audio! All opinions are honest and my own.

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A woman with a dark past collides with a wealthy family and a detective is determined to find the connection between the two.
I find the more I read thrillers, the more I’m getting picky about what I read. Investigator or detective thrillers are hit and miss for me. Luckily, this one was a hit!

In investigator stories, I prefer to have multiple POV. If I just have the detective POV my mind tends to wander. Having Morgan and Investigator Hudson worked perfectly. There was enough from each to keep me interested.

Morgan became my favorite. She starts out being this broken 31 year old that lives with her parents.

But the more I read, the more I admired this woman deeply. She had a horrific past that played into the present story fabulously. I didn’t put pieces together for a bit but when I did I was fascinated. She came out of the story bold, strong and determined. I just hadn’t noticed it before.

Who doesn’t love a dark mystery revolving around ridiculously wealthy people? For some reason, that money just makes the story so much more interesting. Is it their standing in society? That their wealth almost becomes part of their personality? Whatever it is, this one was done well. There was mystery, conflict between the family and a missing person. Top that off with the excess of money and that mystery played out perfectly.

AUDIO REVIEW: I love being able to read but also listen to a book. The back and forth gives such a great insight into the writing but also the narrator for the audio. With this book, the narrator was great with his original voice, however, I found myself disliking most of his character voices. I listen at a higher speed and sometimes that plays a part in a negative sound of voice. Yet the dissatisfaction for multiple voices made me realize reading was better for me than listening.

One last note; I did not realize this was in a series! I never felt I was missing information. It can be read as a standalone as well as the series.

Thank you to Minotaur Books and MacMillan Audio for the gifted copies!

The book releases December 6, 2022.

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Hannah Morrissey takes up back to Black Harbor in The Widowmaker.

"A cryptic note lures Morgan Mori back home to Black Harbor. The same night she photographs a family Christmas party, she witnesses the fatal shooting of a police officer. Clues are revealed in the longtime disappearance of business mogul, Clive Reynolds. Is Morgan's dark history the key to finding answers?"

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.

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If you know me then you know I love a book that gives me all the dark and messed up vibes.  Add in a reluctant return home + mysteries in the past and present + chilling atmosphere + investigation + deliciously flawed, but resilient characters and you get THE WIDOWMAKER by HANNAH MORRISSEY.  

This book is the epitome of atmospheric and delivers on the bleak, frozen, chilling December days in Black Harbor, Wisconsin, as well as on the bleak reality of this crime-ridden town.  This is juxtaposed against the wealth and privilege of the Reynolds family, whose patriarch Clive Reynolds disappeared 20 years ago.  Suspicions fell to his family, but the case never solved..

Enter Investigator Ryan Hudson who is put on the cold case as an attempted distraction of solving his partner's recent murder.  Hudson’s path crosses with Morgan Mori, a photographer hired to document the Reynolds family’s holiday party.  Yet as Morgan tries to leave her past behind she finds herself pulled into the cold case and entrenched in the Reynoldses’ mysterious past. 

This is a book that continued to pull me back to the page.  It made me uncomfortable. Evoked anger and pain. It gave me moments to rejoice.  It brought me to tears.  It had me feverishly reading to the final pages. And can you tell…I loved it!

HANNAH MORRISSEY’S writing reminds me of Tana French’s books in that we get sharp, authentic police procedural + a deep exploration of the characters, their inner workings and relationships. And we see how their pasts inform their present motivations, actions and decisions.  There is messiness and darkness and what I find to be truly recognizable, human moments in these characters.  They may not always make the best decisions or say and do the “right” things but we understand them.  We see the consequences of their choices  even if they do not always end well.  Or go as planned.  But they always serve the character and make sense to the story.  

And like the Dublin Murder Squad series, the BLACK HARBOR MYSTERIES allow you to start with either book. You will see some character crossover (love that!) but a new character takes the lead in each story. I love books that take place in the same universe and truly cannot wait to read the next one….the only problem will be having to wait patiently until 2023!

The authenticity of HANNAH MORRISSEY’S depiction of police investigation and the police family is due in part to her time as a police transcriber and I could feel the power and pain of this story through her words. (And PS - if you haven’t already read her debut HELLO, TRANSCRIBER go do that!)

Massive thanks to @minotaur_books, @hannahmorrisseywriter and @netgalley for the eARC of the book which will be out this Tuesday, December 6th.  You don’t want to miss it!

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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5

This one is dark, twisty, murdery (is that a word?) and everything I want in my thrillers. Hannah definitely took it up a notch in this one. If you’re looking for a perfect winter crime thriller, this is it!

Morgan is a struggling photographer being led home to dark and decrepit town of Black Harbor. After a night of work, she becomes witness to a crime and things slowly start to unravel.

TW: child abuse, pedophilia

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The widowmaker by Hannah Morrissey

Clive Reynolds disappeared 20 years ago. His wife, dubbed the black widow, cashed in on his disappearance a long time ago.

Morgan Mori is invited to take family Christmas photos of the family. After she leaves she witnesses the murder of a cop in the gas station. Ryan Hudson, investigator and best friend of the murdered cop, starts to piece together a 20 year old missing person case, with the murder of his friend.

The closer Hunter gets to the truth, the more of Morgan’s dark past comes to light. How did two very different crimes, decades apart, turn into a race to discover the sordid past of a sleepy town called Black Harbor.

WARNING!!!!!! This book is dark AF! Touches on child abuse and quite graphic in places.

This book was a wild ride! Twisty turning ride of epic proportions! I still haven’t recovered from the whiplash it gave me.

Morgan, sighhhhh, Morgan. Dark, fragile yet indestructible. I love how the author wrote her. Hudson, straight arrow, exemplary policeman….. Even he has some dark secrets in his closet. I like how they are both drawn together in their imperfections and are so raw with each other. Morgan has never confided in anyone, not even her parents but Hudson drew it out of her without even trying. Her past is so tragic and she doesn’t even know the reason for it.

It was a dark read than I am used to but the writing was flawless and I couldn’t put the damn book down. Definitely check the triggers for the book before you read it!

5 stars!! Thank you St martin's Press, Minotaur books and netgalley for my copy!!

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We are back at Black Harbor for this one and is the perfect setting for this novel. Don’t worry if you haven’t read the first book, it is not necessary as this one reads fine as a standalone, and it is just as excellent as the first one. A disappearance from 20 years ago haunts this town, and when Clive Reynolds’ Porsche 930 Turbo, aka The Widowmaker, is pulled from the water, his wife Eleanor was blamed for it but it was never proved. Years later photographer Morgan More is lured back to the town with a cryptic note, and becomes witness to a homocide of a cop that oddly enough triggers the discovery of a clue to this cold case. She finds an unlikely ally in the dead cop’s partner Hudson, who has been tasked with solving the cold case but is equally determined to find out who killed his partner, and Morgan is in the middle of it all.

This is dark, let me tell you, but I enjoyed it very much. I loved how the two cases intertwined and how past linked to present. This is an atmospheric read told in two POV’s and Morrissey is fantastic at keeping the pace just slow enough to keep you hooked but not too fast so as to rush the story. Morgan’s character is complex and troubled, and I thought she was written so well. The ending was very satisfying and there was a twist at the end I didn’t guess.

I listened to this via audio and thought Xe Sands did a fantastic job, I enjoyed reading it this way and thought she captured the book very well.

Thank you to NetGalley and Minotaur Books for the advanced digital copy to review.

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The Widowmaker - Hannah Morrissey
The Widowmaker by Hannah Morrissey brings us back to Black Harbour, Wisconsin where we visited in her debut, Hello Transcriber. This can easily be read as a standalone though. In the Widowmaker, we meet Morgan, a photographer who has returned home to photograph a business mogul's family for the holidays. She then witnesses a murder of a police officer which ultimately leads to a buried clue linked to an unsolved case from many years ago. There is so much going on in this book, I felt anxious while reading this dark, atmospheric thriller.

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Fresh off the press review - Thank you Netgalley and St Martin's Press, Minotaur Books for this ARC. Publication date is Dec 5th but the book is out now at select retailers.

A couple, “Of Notes”: After reading some previous reviews, I feel I must address that this is labeled as a “Black Harbor series”. Readers have written that they did not read book 1 but felt this was a strong enough stand-alone. Let me tell you that you do not need to read the first book, Hello Transcriber, in order to enjoy The Widowmaker. There is only a single reoccurring character and he’s secondary to the protagonists. However, with Morrissey’s overly-descriptive writing style, some would conclude that the fictitious town of Black Harbor, WI, (home to a certain bridge in both books) is also its own character ;)

This mystery is VERY dark in parts. Huge trigger warnings for child abuse and sexual assault. The author worked with the local authorities and someone who worked in the sensitive crimes unit, and she is married to someone in law enforcement. Although a fictional story was told, I felt that this matter was handled with care and wasn’t drawn out or glorified.

On to the review: This book literally kept me on the edge of my seat! Told in alternating chapters between our female protagonist and the investigating officer, the pacing was fresh and at no point stale. Morrissey does a great job executing the timing of learning what events shape Morgan, molding her into who she is today. The same can be said for Ryan and what makes him tick. The mystery itself was well executed down to some of the last scenes. I love that we get a “suspect wall” while trying to dissect all of the entanglements of the mystery. And I appreciated a very unique interrogation scene. :) There’s some spice, but it doesn’t take center stage.

Growing up mere miles from Lake Michigan, I could FEEL the gritty, cold picture she painted of this blue collar town, juxtaposed with the wealthy Reynolds family mansion and their “up north” property. I really enjoyed this Wisconsin Nior! I cannot wait for her 3rd novel.

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The description of this one sounded interesting to me, so I picked it up even though I haven't read the first book in the series. This second Black Harbor book was no problem to read as a stand alone, and I found it to be rather dark and disturbing (made for a good story though).

The plot was well developed and pacing was good. I didn't want to put it down. I enjoyed the mystery of the wealthy Reynolds family and I found Morgan Moi intriguing. The search for what the skeleton key would open kept my attention. The characters were interesting and I enjoyed the revelations as the secrets were revealed.

Thanks to St. Martin's Press through Netgalley for an advance copy. This book will be published on December 6, 2022.

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This book as not for me. It is about a young woman in debt who came from some sort of sketchy circumstance and is now living at home trying her hand at being a photographer. For some reason, she gets hired to photograph the holiday party of one of the wealthiest women in town. She goes on a date with her son right after the job and ends up in the middle of a crime scene where a cop is killed. Then, the widow’s dead husband’s care is dredged up after decades submerged in a local pond. I did not get pulled in at all and stopped reading at 40 percent.

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Wow! This dark thriller plays out like a movie! I'm glad I received this is not easy to put down. Uncovering a cold case, dealing with the wealthy and scandalous Reynold's family intertwines with a recent homicide of a police officer. Morgan is invited to join a holiday party at the Reynold's lake house to take pictures of the event. Eleanor Reynolds is a multi-millionaire after her husband's death insurance policy paid out. Clive Reynolds disappeared 20 years ago making this an outstanding setup for a murder mystery and psychological elements.
The story picks up momentum after Morgan leaves the party and witnesses Officer Brix Garrison's death. His death is haunting her with his last look and words that he had finally found her. This is so intriguing and plenty of twists and turns to deepen the plot. Clues surface that had me guessing one way as the scene shifts to another direction so did my predictions. Of course, the lead investigator, Ryan, finds himself engaged in his partner's death and highly geared to snag Morgan.
There are some graphic abuse scenes that are hard to read, but I kept reading to find that final clue and how it will all be wrapped up.
Thank you Netgalley and St Martin's Press, Minotaur Books for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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Ouf. This book has a ton of trigger warnings! Definitely look into them if you plan to pick this book up.
Overall I found the book the most entertaining at the end. The first 60% I found dragged on a little bit, however it may be because I didn't realize this was book two and I hadn't read book one. The ending was really good and I couldn't stop reading. I enjoyed Morgan as a character and couldn't imagine her life and what she had been through.

Thank you netgalley for the e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

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The Widowmaker was hot and cold in a lot of ways for me. I enjoyed the dual viewpoints, and think that the voices of the two main characters were distinct and consistent. Nonetheless, I struggled to like any of the characters, including the protagonists, but found myself developing a loyalty to some of them by the mid-point.The writing at the beginning felt overdone and inauthentic, but at moments in the later half, it was poignant and profound. The key mystery that bound all the others together was predictable, while the criminals kept me guessing most of the way through. The resolution of the conflicts was satisfying, but the last couple of scenes took away from that feeling rather than adding to it (though I get why they were included).

Thank you to St. Martin's Press, Minotaur Books, Netgalley, and author Hannah Morrisey for early access to this book.

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Special thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free, electronic ARC of this novel received in exchange for an honest review.
Expected publication date: December 6, 2022
Twenty years ago, billionaire Clive Reynolds mysteriously disappeared. His family assumed he was dead and the police assumed he had run off, but when his 1978 Porsche is found in a nearby lake with a dead body in its passenger seat (a dead body that does not belong to Clive Reynolds), the Reynolds family is thrust back into the spotlight. Detective Ryan Hudson, determined to prove himself amongst his colleagues, is asked to investigate, in part to take his mind off the death of his former partner and close friend. Then Morgan Mori shows up, with a skeleton key and a cryptic note, and Hudson is convinced she is connected to the Reynolds case, although Morgan swears she is simply an employee. As it all begins to unwind, the Reynolds family secrets are brought to light, and Morgan and Ryan are both fighting to find the truth- and to stay alive.
“The Widowmaker” by Hannah Morrissey has a little bit of everything- billionaire family secrets, police investigations, illegitimate children, and pedophilia and child abuse and, of course, murder. Every chapter is full of twists, turns and it is difficult to put this novel down. That being said, this novel is one you have to pay close attention to, as the characters are plentiful and the plot is intense, but it is still every bit as enjoyable as it is complex.
“Widowmaker” is told mostly from Morgan’s viewpoint, in a slow burn, cryptic way. We know something horrible happened to Morgan in her past, and as the truth is slowly peeled back, she endears herself to the reader and I rooted from her from the start. She has a Lisbeth Salander vibe to her, which I adored. Hudson too is a likable and relatable character, and the Reynolds clan is exactly as you’d expect from entitled high society (that is to say, exceptionally phony with a few rotten characters in the group).
I am new to Morrissey, but I have heard great things about her work, especially her debut, “Hello Transcriber”. Apparently “Widowmaker” takes place in the same town as Morrissey’s premiere novel, but, even being unfamiliar as of yet with “Transcriber”, I did not feel lost or confused. It seems unnecessary to read one novel in order to keep up with the other, but I may go back and read “Transcriber” to see what I missed, all the same.
Morrissey’s “Widowmaker” has some intense subject matter, and is not at all an easy read, but it is gripping and suspenseful, and utterly delightful. It may not be for every reader, but it is definitely a powerful novel that will touch all the right emotional chords.

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In the acknowledgments, Hannah Morrissey says her editor described the first draft of this book as “too dark and too weird.” Well, I like Morrissey’s dark and weird books. Her writing style is not the smoothest, but that’s not a bad thing, because it makes me pay attention when I’m reading. She knows how to create interesting characters and can unravel a mystery that makes you think. Her fictional town of Black Harbor has a lot more stories to tell.

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