Her Darkest Secret

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Pub Date 28 Jun 2022 | Archive Date 29 Jul 2022

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When a cold-case serial killer returns, FBI special agent Fiona Kelly has one last chance to stop him before he claims the prize he’s always wanted—her.

The sight of a goose feather at a murder scene modeled after a children’s poem is enough to make FBI special agent Fiona Kelly's blood turn to ice. Almost two decades ago, a feather was left with her sister's body—and with every subsequent victim of the Nursery Rhyme Killer. Now he's back. Only this time, his latest gruesome murder is a message to the only one who ever got away: Fiona.

Finding “Rhyme” is an obsession that's fueled Fiona's career—and destroyed her marriage to fellow FBI agent Asa Kodiak. Now Fiona and Asa have to put their past tensions aside and work together one last time. But Rhyme is watching, and catching this killer may force Fiona to reveal her biggest, darkest secret…the one only he knows.

Her Darkest Secret by Jessica R. Patch grabbed me in the first scene of this edge-of-your-seat suspense and didn't let go until the end!”—Patricia Bradley, author of the Memphis Cold Case novels
When a cold-case serial killer returns, FBI special agent Fiona Kelly has one last chance to stop him before he claims the prize he’s always wanted—her.

The sight of a goose feather at a murder scene...

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ISBN 9780369719010
PRICE $9.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 69 members

Featured Reviews

I really enjoyed the book! I loved the suspense throughout the story. I think the author did a great job of keeping you wondering who "Rhyme" is until the end. Fiona and Kodiak are great characters, and they play off each other really well. You feel the undercurrents in their relationship, but I liked how the author didn't put too much of an emphasis on "love" but kept it on the case and the relationships between the team as a whole. I would definitely recommend this book!

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Jessica R. Patch has done it again only bigger and better than ever!
I did my happy dance for this book!
This was fantabulous, amazing, excellent and exciting! With all the ingredients for a can't put down book!
This is a novel that will definitely make the hairs stand on the back of your neck and have you looking over your shoulder for sure! I read this at night so yes, I ended up doing both of these things.
Unforgettable characters too.
I love that this particular thriller is a wonderful story that has beautiful spiritual messages to help Fiona through her ordeal.
I found myself holding my breath through the many twists and turns and was so into the book that I was finished before I knew it.
I really liked this couple. They really made an excellent team.
The Nursery Ryhme killer. What a name! Sort of reminds me of Stephen King's It.
I highly recommend this book!
I would love to give it more than 5 stars though. Too bad I couldn't cause it deserves 10!
Patch's stories has made me a fan for life. This will be my favorite one because of the excellent writing that was done and how she made it seem so realistic.
My thanks for a copy of this book. I was NOT required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

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The Nursery Rhyme Killer has returned and FBI special agent Fiona Kelly is called on to re-enter the case where she had been his victim! If you like stories that make you look over your shoulder and hold your breath... this one will do that! This one is listed as a Christian mystery and thriller with a touch of romance. Definitely a thriller and I couldn't wait to find out who the killer was, late night reading until I found out. Working with your ex-husband made for interesting romantic tension too. This is one for my favorite list!
I requested a copy from the publisher through NetGalley. No review was required, my review and opinion are voluntary.

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'She'd been learning to think like a killer much longer than her career with the FBI.'

This book is so worthy of more than the allowable 5 stars. From the prologue, the book is absolutely
un-put-downable! I have been a Jessica Patch fan since I read her first book. I've read all of hers, some of them twice, and I've never tired of them one bit. With this one, however, Patch's talent has only grown, and greatly. In fact, I was astounded at how great it was! I was captivated from page one, and it never wavered.

Patch has created characters that seem to just leap off the page and into the reader's mind. And their emotions practically ping into your heart. One such scene was so intense, it had my heart hurting for them. Never have I seen such raw emotion from a book character. This writing is brilliant and crazy good!

'The killer had declared war. Asa would give him the fight of his life and hope it was enough.'

Patch has created an insanely bad villain. The story is gritty, chilling and so frightening. I found myself gasping numerous times during the reading. Patch ratchets up the suspense all along and races toward an ending no one will envision. No one! I was completely taken by surprise by it. She manages to weave everything together perfectly to write the very best suspense novel I've ever read. Bar none.

I especially enjoyed how Patch has the FBI team operating so seamlessly. The secondary characters are also very real to this reader. This is WAY better than any crime show. Hands down.

'God had proven once again that Fiona wasn't worth listening to.'

Let me also mention that the spiritual thread, while subtle, was very powerful indeed. I loved how the author ties this in with the horrific things that happen in this book. One reviewer called it a taut psychological thriller and I completely agree. Taut and intense are two adjectives that describe it perfectly. I am so looking forward to more books in this series. Bravo! Well done!

My thanks to Love Inspired Publishers for a copy of this book via the Net Galley platform. The opinion in this review is expressly my own.

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Seventeen years ago Fiona was kidnapped along with her sister and some friends. Fiona is the only one to make it out alive. The killer is never caught and she joins the FBI. Asa is an FBI agent and his called in when a murder has the same characteristics as NRK (Nursery Rhyme Killer), the killer Fiona has been hunting since he took her. Asa is Fiona's ex and didn't want to tell her about the victim. Fiona couldn't put Asa first , always putting Rhyme first. Who will the killer get next .

This is a Christian romantic suspense. No bad words. No sex. Both are keeping secrets. It will keep you on the edge of your seat.

* Volunteerily read and reviewed this for Netgalley *

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This is one of the best books I have read in quite awhile. Jessica R Patch keeps you jumping with most of her books but this one really had me guessing until the end.

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4.5 stars

Wow! This book was intense and very difficult to put down. Fans of Nancy Mehl’s Kaely Quinn and Quantico Files series will definitely want to check this one out! Mystery, suspense, twists and turns, some romance, and faith are all present throughout the book.

You are going to read about some gruesome, horrible, evil things in this book. However, this is balanced by the message of hope in Christ. The characters are real and struggle with what it means to have faith and to live out faith. They aren’t perfect and make mistakes. This made me appreciate the message all the more.

I am often able to figure out “whodunit” easily. In the case of this book, I was still able to figure it out before it was revealed, but it took me a little longer. There was one twist, however, that I did not see coming. I love being surprised by a book.

I am so excited that there is another book in this series. I can’t wait!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Wow! This book is GREAT! It’s an amazing “Criminal Minds-esque” story that keeps you sucked in from the first page to the last. I was absolutely captivated from beginning to end with this wonderful story. My favorite part about the book is the theme of the constant love, hope, and grace that God gives in the midst of the pain and suffering that this Earth brings. I enjoyed every minute of reading this book and I hope you will enjoy it too!

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If you want a page-turner, riveting, drop-the-mouth suspense/thriller, full of action, with a twist, then Jessica R. Patch is the author for you!
I think out of all the suspense books Jessica Patch has written, this is my favorite! OH MY!
It is so full of nail-biting moments with added creepy stuff, that there really isn’t time to breathe! You think you know what’s happening and who the bad guy is, then WHAM . . . the author throws a twist in, and you keep shaking your head!
I’m one of those readers who LOVES to “figure it out” and with this story, I was totally stumped. I was held captive from the very first page to the last. It was one of those books where you don’t want to put it down, but yet, you do because it gets under your skin and into your head and you don’t really want to know what’s going to happen, but yet you do! UGH! This makes for a GREAT creepy, scary, suspense.
Now, it wasn’t only full of scary stuff, it had some strong relationship plots, some crazy co-workers, and a beautiful message of God’s love and protection.
Jessica Patch is a very skilled author who weaves intriguing stories which will grip your heart and captivate your soul. Her stories also have wonderful examples of how God can take broken, worn, and lost individuals, and fill them with peace, and grace.
I was given this book by the author and all the opinions are my own!
I highly recommend picking up this book. However, I need to warn you, that you might not get much sleep until you finish reading it!

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I received an ARC of this book. Five stars are not enough for this book! I am not sure I will be able to wait for the next book in this series. Nothing was what it seemed to be as I read this story. Every time I thought I understood who did it and how, the author would throw another twist in the story! Sometimes the twists would make me squeal out loud! This is a story that I constantly thought about. Be sure to read this book if you need some excitement added to your life!

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This book was non-stop! It kept me turning pages as fast as I could and guessing right up to the very end. This is the best suspense novel I’ve read in quite a while. I can’t wait for more from this new line of books!

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Her Darkest Secret
By: Jessica R. Patch
Wow, what a ride I had reading Her Darkest Secret. Patch has really penned one of her best this Psychological thriller. I was captured at the start and could not put it down. It is packed with action, suspense, and twist and turns. I thought I had it all figured out, but no way. Patch takes you inside the mind of a serial killer. I was given a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

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Jessica R. Patch has written an outstanding psychological thriller with a little bit of romance and an element of faith that is well balanced. FBI Special Agent Fiona Kelly along with FBI Supervisory Agent In Charge, Asa Kodiak, are hunting a serial killer that wants to catch Agent Kelly. This is an intense, edge of your seat, don’t want to put it down book! From start to finish this holds the reader spellbound wanting to see what will happen next. There are unexpected twists to keep things even more interesting. I highly recommend this book.
I received an ARC of this book from the author/publisher with a request for an honest review. The opinion stated is mine alone.

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Patch's psychological thriller features a masterfully textured plot with complex realistic characters. Fiona and Asa are believable as ex-FBI teammates, as well as ex-spouses. The author does a fantastic job of showing the awkwardness of trying to solve a string of murders that are inextricably linked to Fiona and to the breakdown of her and Asa's marriage. The presentation of faith, without preaching and without shying away from exposing hypocrisy, is refreshing and avoids the standard cliches and pat answers. The suspense level is maintained from start to finish. I didn't want to put the book down and re-read it as soon as I finished. Nursery rhymes definitely don't seem benign and innocuous after reading this book. This book will appeal to fans of Patch's Cold Case series as well as Nancy Mehl's Kaely Quinn Profiler novels.

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Agent Fiona Kelly has dedicated the last 17 years of her life trying to track down the Nursery Rhyme Killer. As one of the serial killer's early victims who managed to escape, she has a stronger interest in the case than the average investigator. Plus, the killer has a special interest in her as well and he has never stopped tormenting her. This obsession has cost her a marriage already and never gives her a moment of peace.

Now, she is teamed up with her ex-husband FBI agent Asa Kodiak and his team after the killer's recent crime returns him to the spotlight.

This book had me guessing from beginning to end as the team worked their way through the clues and possible suspects. The criminal tension is made even more tense as Asa and Fiona find themselves in such close proximity after their marriage failed. This all mixes together to create a compelling story on several levels. I highly recommend this book.

I received an ARC of this book from the author with a request for an honest review.

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Oh my. I have so many words! This book took me on such a ride. From disgust to pity to hope to despair, this story provoked emotions that I have not unearthed in a while. This story is about a serial killer, yes. It has a neat twist, yes. But it is the definition of a romantic thriller. It is not just a thriller with psychological twists. It’s a love story. And the story does not just unfold between people with each other. This love story oroginates between God and His people. The redemption in this story can give any reader a new hope in God, an assured trust in His plan. I loved reading this story. It does not take much to get me to read a book once it’s labeled a psychological thriller. This book was no exception to that! It had a perfect amount of movement and plot twists to suck me in for days at a time! It had personal details to remind me of my hometown, as the story is set in Memphis. Lastly, it had a powerful and redemptive tone. These people struggle with real issues, like we all do, but I love how God still gets the glory by the end of the book! I loved this book.

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Jessica Patch is a psychological thriller mastermind! If you love "Criminal Minds" dialed up a few notches, you'll love this book!

Majorly creepy serial killer stuff? Yep! A little bit of romance? Uh-huh! Truly keeps you guessing right up until the end? Definitely! (I was seriously so surprised when it got to the big reveal!!!)

But it's so much more than that! I love the intertwining of redemption and forgiveness in a way that's not overbearing or inconsistent with the storyline. It leaves you with the warm, fuzzy feels after all of the terror the characters endure.

It was a little verbose and overly descriptive in the beginning, but just power through that bit for a minute because once you get into the story, you won't be able to put it down! The language is clean, the plot is gripping, and there's a touch of romance tucked in the story, too, so it's kind of the best of all my worlds when it comes to fiction novels!

I was given an advanced copy of this book by the author and publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.

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FBI special agent Fiona Kelly from the Strange Crimes Unit is still dealing with the aftermath of her abduction and her sister’s murder by the serial killer known as the Nursery Rhyme Killer. Years later, Fiona’s obsession with capturing Rhyme has destroyed everything in her life, including her marriage. Now the killer has struck again, propelling her back into NRK’s sick world with more gruesome murders.

FBI special agent Asa Kodiak is not only thrust back into the serial killer’s mind that tore his marriage apart, but now he has to work with Fiona again to finally put a stop to NRK’s sick nursery rhyme murders.

Can Fiona and Asa set aside their differences and work together to stop Rhyme before he takes everything they love away from them?

Wow…just wow. Her Darkest Secret had me from page one and kept me reading. I loved the plot, characters, and vivid imagery used throughout the book.

This novel has it all: cleverly crafted plot twists, well-rounded characters that jump off the page and into our hearts, and vivid imagery with deep POV inserting you into the scene as if you were filming it. Her use of words and sentence structure is every writer’s dream.

The tension and conflict in this story were well placed. Just when you think they were safe, something else happens. This puts the reader right into the story, holding their breath.

The faith aspect is interwoven effectively without sounding preachy.

I give Her Darkest Secret five goose feathers. Be prepared to be up all night reading. Pull your covers close and keep the light on because this haunting psychological thriller will give you goosebumps!

**I received no compensation and the opinions in this review are my own.

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Jessica Patch’s first full length novel is a prize in the psychological thriller genre. And a thriller it is! Her Darkest Secret is a spine-tingling suspense, a heart-pounding romance, and a story of joy-filled hope all in the same story. I found myself gripping the edges of my book as I read, turning pages to get to the next section. Patch introduces a fascinating cast of characters, many of them members of the Strange Crimes Unit. I enjoyed seeing them work together, each using their strengths to bring about the end to a serial killer who has plagued some of them for years. I wanted Fiona and Asa to solve the crime and find the hope and joy that is missing in their lives. I like that the reader gets to see several points of view, including the killer’s, in the novel. Patch’s storytelling kept me engaged from the first page to the last.

I found this book thoroughly entertaining and highly recommend it to readers who like a creepy factor in their romantic suspense.

I was given a copy by the author. All opinions stated are my own.

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The Nursery Rhyme Killer has struck again! Fiona returns to the Memphis FBI office to help bring down this killer who abducted Fiona and her sister, killing her sister after Fiona got away years ago. Fiona and her ex-husband, the agent in charge, must work together along with the rest of the team to solve the killer's crimes before he manages to get what he really wants - Fiona.

Be prepared to stay on the edge of your seat! Even though parts of this book show some of the evil that exists in our world, the author also shows that faith in our Lord can help us see the light and joy only He can give. Those who have this faith can help others find their faith even in the midst of tracking down the evil doers.

I had trouble putting this book down so I finished it in just 2 days. I received a digital advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. I highly recommend this book if you enjoy reading thrillers/suspenseful mysteries with a bit of romance. I am looking forward to more of these stories.

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Author Jessica R. Patch has seriously upped her game with the first book in her latest series, Strange Crimes Unit, South Division. Most readers might want to avoiding reading Her Darkest Secret right before bedtime or when home alone at night. This intense novel is more than a little creepy and could create nightmares for those who are sensitive.

Don’t get me wrong, this is NOT a graphic or gruesome story. BUT the idea of a stalker/killer who leaves nursery rhymes and a goose feather with his victims is definitely not normal. On the surface Her Darkest Secret is what the title says – dark, but as we Christians know, darkness is overcome by the light. This story is all about how that light overcomes the darkness.

A second chance romance plays a minor role in this awesome tale of forgiveness and redemption. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of this book and can’t wait for the next installment.

I voluntarily reviewed a digital copy of this book provided by the author through Netgalley. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.

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Edge of your seat, but warning: do not read at bedtime. Powerful story of shining light in the darkeness and bringing hope. An interesting cast of characters keep you guessing the identity of the Nursery Rhyme Killer. But I’m saying no more, because spoilers.

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This book is spell binding. It keeps you totally in suspense! Definitely a psychological thriller. The twists and turns keep you guessing. So that you never know where the fascinating story line takes you next. Which makes it such an exciting read. I highly recommend you getting and reading this book. You won't regret it.

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Buckle up and hold on for the adrenaline filled ride that is Jessica Patch's newest book. Her Darkest Secret is being marketed as a psychological thriller and that is a perfect description for it. I was feeling Criminal Minds type vibes throughout the book as the Strange Crimes Unit is on the hunt for a serial killer that has returned. The hero and heroine, Fiona and Asa, both have close personal connections to the Nursery Rhyme Killer which adds to their motivation to solve this case. This book is not lacking in creepiness and nail biting suspense. Be prepared to become so invested in the story that you won't want to put it down and an ending you won't see coming!! At least I sure didn't!!

One thing I feel like readers should know going in is that there are some descriptions of some abuses against children in the story. The author handles them well and they have all happened in the past so are described in past tense. I am not usually one to warn people about things in books, but I felt like this is such a sensitive topic that readers need to be aware. The book truly shows the depravity in the world and the secret lives people can lead. However, the faith thread is strong in the book which was encouraging. It was refreshing to see these characters who face the worst this world has to offer on a daily basis by tracking down killers see their need for faith in Jesus who offers hope and a light in the darkness.

I was given an advanced copy of this book by the author and publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.

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I loved this story! I loved Asa and Fiona, and all of the characters. I especially loved that it took place in my hometown! I could not put it down! Great psychological thriller with a message of hope! Definitely a MUST READ!!!

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WOW! What a ride this book is! Patch packed quite a punch in this psychological thriller. The book is about a serial killer who is obsessed with the heroine Fiona. She is with a special task force dedicated to solving strange crimes. Her ex husband, Asa has his hands full trying to solve the case and protect his heart as well..

This book is action packed and I couldn't put it down. I just knew I knew who the bad guy was, but I did not. There are twists and turns that make this book the ride that it is. All the characters in the book are intriguing and the setting is in Memphis. My hometown so I knew this was gonna be a fascinating story. And it was. I look forward to more books in the series.

*I was given a copy of the book by the publisher and this is my honest opinion.

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"Her Darkest Secret" captured my attention from the first page and I couldn't put it down. This well-written book will keep you guessing until the end. It's a wonderful story of emerging from darkness and God's goodness.

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I couldn’t breathe! This was an amazing thriller that I couldn’t put down! The creep factor and the high intensity was there as well as a beautiful story of redemption woven throughout the story!

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Her Darkest Secret is a very well written psychological thriller. I have read all of this author’s books and this is by far the best one yet. Awesome plot and character dynamics. You do not want to miss this book. My thanks to the author and Netgalley for my advance book. This is my unbiased review.

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This is an incredible story with a gripping storyline that will leave you on the edge of your seat throughout the novel as you wait to see what Rhyme will do next. I read this book in just a few days, and if I had the time, I would have read it in one sitting. Jessica Patch offers an intriguing story yet intertwines such beauty in it with the thread of Jesus and his love for us. This story not only tells of a serial killer, but more importantly, it also tells of a Savior whose blood blots out every stain and who calls us to live a life that truly matters. This book is excellent, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a great read with a great message.

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WARNING: Do not start reading before going to bed as you won't be able to stop! Jessica R. Patch has outdone herself!!! This story is simply AMAZING!! It is so riveting I struggled to put it down! Had to do some "sneak-reading"! "Yes, I am busy with dinner . . . Uhm sort-off just have to finish this chapter"😉 We meet Asa, Fiona and the rest of their specialized team. Loved the interplay between the teammembers. Asa and Fiona each had a particular painfull past to heal from and had to learn the hard way, true peace is only found in God. I can't stress enough how much I enjoyed this book!! I have a new favourite author!

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Thank you Harlequin and Netgalley for my ARC copy... The following is my honest review of the book...

What a book....I stayed up late to finish it...
Not my usual reading but I have had classes in Criminal Psychology and one class taught by the FBI on Criminal Psychology so I thought that this might be worth the read...
It takes special people to do FBI BSU so I really liked the characters back stories....
Loved the plot twists....
Didn't see the end coming..I thought one thing and bam left turn and voila.....

Definitely worth the read....

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this is a revetting story to the end. fiona and asa used to be married but she could not let go of the need to catch the person who killed her sister and friends but let her go years ago now he is back and killing again. Fiona comes back to town and has to work with asa and the gang she used to work with to find the killer. this is apage turning story that i could not put down till the end. the author brings you into the world of the people who think they have a right to take a life if it brings them to what they want or in their minds right a wrong . i was given a copy of the book by net galley but this is an honest review very good

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I loved “Her Darkest Secret” by Jessica R. Patch. This was one of those books that was so hard to put down, and I couldn’t wait to see how it ended! I believe this was the author’s best suspense books yet. There was some romantic tension between Fiona and Kodiak, the main characters, yet it didn’t overpower the book. The majority of the book centered around the mystery and who “Rhyme” was. There was a huge twist at the end that I never saw coming! I highly recommend this book! I can’t wait to read the next one by Jessica R. Patch!

I received this book from the publisher through NetGalley for my honest opinion.

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Wow! If I could give this book 20 stars, I would not hesitate to do it! I was totally absorbed into this book and this story from the first few pages. I actually felt as if I had slipped into the book and lived for a few days. This was so creepy that I seriously considered sleeping with the lights on! Jessica Patch masterfully manipulated my assumptions on how this one was going to end. This is a dark tale of a woman, FBI Agent Fiona Kelly, who suffered at the hands of a depraved serial killer when she was just a teenager. She survived, but her sister and friends did not survive. This killer haunts her dreams, and it has basically destroyed her life. Her obsession with finding this killer decimated her marriage to a fellow FBI agent, Asa Kodiak. She lives and breathes her voracious hunt for the serial killer known as the Nursery Rhyme Killer, apparently due to the killer's disgusting obsession with Mother Goose. When a goose feather is found at a crime scene, she knows the Nursery Rhyme Killer has struck again. She knows she has to be involved in this investigation even if it kills her. The cast of characters in this book are well written, and very easy to get to know and love through the author's writing. I found myself feeling real empathy for Fiona and what she went through as a mere child. How can you escape that horror? The author works in an inspirational message through this story showing Asa leaning on his faith and his faith changing his outlook on life. The mystery was as taut and intricate as a spider web, while also being disturbing. It is an action packed thriller with terrifying events that will have you suspecting everyone, but trust me... you will be shocked to your core at the ending of this book! If you are a reader who loves a thriller full of suspense and intrigue, I promise you will not be disappointed!

Thank you to Jessica Patch, NetGalley and Harlequin for this ARC. I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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