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Reviewed by Nandita Keshavan for Readers' Favorite
Crushed Gardenias by Heather Osborne is a short story that is full of suspense. It develops with tension as a serial killer is committing murders of innocent people. The story follows Agent Hatting who is in charge of the case. She is externally reserved, but deeply emotional at heart. She is logical and analytical, and yet is also fiercely protective of the victims. I really enjoyed the subtle portrayal of this character which was woven into the plot very well. I was also impressed by her insight and her ability to stay calm despite her intense emotions.
The main questions raised in the first half of the story are will the serial killer be discovered, what is their motive for committing these terrible crimes, and what will they be like? The story was descriptive in a realistic and yet sincere and touching way, which I felt was a unique aspect of Heather’s writing that is not always easy to achieve in short story format. The story ends with unexpected food for thought and even a dose of sympathy for the perpetrator. It is a chilling story that shows that dysfunctional relationships can have serious effects on the wider world.
I would recommend this book for those interested in intense suspense, realism, sympathy, sadness and sincerity in short story form. Heather Osborne would definitely be able to sustain the reader’s interest in a longer work due to her interesting character portrayal, candid style of writing and creative conception of an interesting plot twist.