We’re back in Blackwater Falls with the Community Response Unit. This time, the unit is assigned to tackle two office involved shootings that resulted in the deaths of Mateo Ruiz and Duantee Reed. Inaya and her colleagues are forced to tackle their own prejudices and will need to examine their own beliefs as they investigate the two crimes.
As with the first book in the series I really enjoyed our main characters. Inaya, certainly has some additional growth and we even ‘finally’ get more of the backstory of why she left Chicago. In addition, both Areesha Adams and Caterina Hernandez are back and have their own POVs throughout the story. I find the added perspectives from them round out the story well, but even so all three women have some very personal matters that are occurring simultaneously with the investigation and other reasons that make these cases personal to them. It certainly adds to the overall story, and in Detective series such as these, I do love getting to be inside the head of more than just our main character.
With that said, there is A LOT going on in this book. Just like in Book #1, I felt there was so much going on. It’s one thing to weave complex mysteries together but I just felt that the two independent murders, Seif & Inaya’s somewhat romance, each of the women’s and Seif’s individual issues, plus the themes of racism, immigration, and police brutality was just too much to pack into just over 300 pages. At the same time, the story (just like in book 1) has a pacing issue. I’m not sure how I would fix it, but once Duante’s murder was resolved I was ready for the book to be done and instead I had what felt like another hour or two left on my audio to listen to. The romance still doesn’t feel flushed out, and I still think it feels somewhat forced. I did enjoy getting to know Seif’s brothers and Inaya’s family more.
I would highly recommend you read this series in order, as there is significant character development that happens, and I feel readers might easily become lost if reading them out of order. As with Blackwater Falls, I primarily listened to the audiobook, and I found it to be once again well done. Overall, I did like this one more than the first, so I’ll probably continue with the series, but I still feel it’s trying to do ‘too much’ at a time. This is certainly an interesting commentary on the middle east and immigration considering what is happening in the world now.
Blood Betrayal is out now. Huge thank you to Minotaur Books and St. Martin’s Press for my copy in exchange for my honest opinion. If you liked this review, please let me know either by commenting below or by visiting my Instagram @speakingof.books.