Innocence Slain

Fiction - Mystery - Murder
338 Pages
Reviewed on 03/28/2024
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Gaius Konstantine for Readers' Favorite

"Life brings many crossroads," and when your day starts with chasing a skunk through the office, only to go downhill from there, you've arrived at Innocence Slain by Kit Karson. The story takes place in Anderson, Montana, where Peter Elliot heads the small local police force. Sheriff Elliot, with his deputies and doughnut-loving dog, Zack, aren't battling significant crime. Most of the time, they find themselves babysitting inebriated, wayward tourists. However, events take a dark turn when one of the tourists disappears, and what starts as a routine missing person case ominously escalates into something far more sinister, testing Peter's abilities to the max. With the help of his crew and recruit Birdie, who has a secret agenda of her own, Peter must reconcile the fact that while he can't alter the past, he can shape the future.

Innocence Slain by Kit Karson is a compact, well-crafted crime novel that surprised me with the measure of information a couple of hundred pages can contain. The setting is vividly described and could be any rural town in the U.S. The characters are well-developed and diverse, ranging from the stoic Sheriff Elliot to the lovable Helen (who is the quintessential definition of a "Mama Bear.") Having said that, where this book truly excels is in its ability to build tension. The buildup is subtle but effective, like a low-grade campfire gradually turning into an inferno that threatens to engulf the forest. Despite its intensity, the violence is at an absolute minimum, and the author doesn't rely on brutality to create a sense of danger. Overall, the book is an engaging read that left me craving more.

K.C. Finn

Innocence Slain: A Sheriff Elliot Mystery is a work of fiction in the mystery, suspense, and slice-of-life subgenres, and is the second novel in The Anderson Chronicles penned by author Kit Karson. The disappearance of pampered Stacey Nichols ignites a race against time for the sheriff and his deputies, especially Deputy Birdie Bradshaw, who has a personal stake in the case. Clues are scarce, but Birdie's determination uncovers a pattern of similar disappearances spanning decades, leading to a harrowing race to rescue Stacey from her abusive captor before it's too late. As the clock ticks down, the stakes escalate, driving the narrative toward a thrilling and satisfying conclusion.

Author Kit Karson has crafted a riveting and suspenseful novel that kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish with its well-paced plot and fantastic revelations. The confident narrative structure is filled with tension, mystery, and heart-pounding twists. I was particularly impressed by the way the atmospheric details of the descriptions matched these different moods and set each scene up for the discoveries that awaited Sheriff Elliot and readers. The characters, particularly my personal favorite, Birdie Bradshaw, are well-developed and compelling, drawing readers into their personal struggles and motivations. I loved the way that their unique dialogue styles characterize them at once, and there was some great use of dialogue to give the key plot exposition a chance to shine too. The small-town setting was a great choice to highlight the tight-knit community's response to tragedy and the challenges faced by law enforcement in rural areas. Overall, Innocence Slain is a gripping thriller that I would not hesitate to recommend.

Doreen Chombu

Innocence Slain is a crime investigation drama by Kit Karson, which follows the lives of the residents of Anderson, a small town in rural Montana. The story revolves around the sheriff's department, which receives a time-sensitive case when a young man reports his girlfriend missing. Sheriff Peter Elliot, his team, and recruits Birdie, a woman with secret motives, and old-time friend and colleague, Angus, work against the clock to find the girl. As Elliot and his team dive into the case of the missing girl, they uncover a dark and unsettling pattern of disappearances that have plagued Anderson for years. With the realization that this case may be linked to a larger, more sinister mystery, the pressure mounts for them to solve it before it is too late.

Innocence Slain is a captivating and suspenseful tale. Although the second book in The Anderson Chronicles series, it is always a bonus when a sequel can stand alone yet also continue the story seamlessly from the previous book. Kit Karson's ability to reintroduce the characters and continue to engage readers is a testament to her great storytelling skills. Peter Elliot is a complex character grappling with personal problems, and his crew members like Helen have self-esteem issues that many readers will relate to. The story tackles sensitive issues like mental disorders and kidnappings but also has humorous moments that bring a lighthearted note to the narrative. The book is well written with a smooth flow that makes it easy to follow. Overall, Innocence Slain is a must-read for both fans of this book series and new readers who are interested in crime investigation dramas.

Luwi Nyakansaila

The town of Anderson had been shaken by two murders a month prior, but things seemed to be returning to normalcy. Sheriff Peter Elliot is working on the usual town cases like skunk spray attacks and hiring new members to join his police force. However, the tranquility is short-lived as a young man rushes into the Anderson police station, pleading with the team to find his girlfriend who has gone missing. Peter and his team jump into action, following the girl's trail in hopes of finding her. Unfortunately, with no ransom demands and the girl's parents insisting that she is not the type to run away from home, the situation seems dire. Join the Anderson police department as they work to solve this missing person case in Innocence Slain by Kit Karson.

Innocence Slain is a suspenseful tale that will keep you on the edge of your seat as you follow Sheriff Peter Elliot and his team's relentless pursuit to find a missing girl amidst their personal struggles and pressure from misinformed residents. Kit Karson skillfully captures the drama of small-town life and weaves in backstories and subplots that lead to unexpected twists and turns. The novel tackles important topics such as mental illness and the limitations of police procedures. By raising questions about the impact of negligence on investigating crimes, the story prompts readers to consider the potential consequences of overlooking certain crimes and the importance of upholding justice and accountability in our systems. For those who love crime mysteries and small-town dramas, Innocence Slain is a must-read, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Great job!

Priya Mathew

Set in the small town of Anderson, Montana, Innocence Slain by Kit Karson is the second book in the Anderson Chronicles. Life is going on as usual in the tranquil town during sapphire hunting season when visitors come to Anderson for gemstone prospecting and enjoy the local tourist attractions. Anderson's everyday routine is broken when a young woman, Stacey Nichols, is reported missing by her boyfriend. The Sheriff's office scrambles to find any evidence that might lead to Stacey's location, even though hardly any clues are available. Birdie Bradshaw, the newly hired deputy, becomes involved in the case, driven by more than her professional duties. She uncovers in the town’s archives a disturbing pattern of similar disappearances, spanning decades. Will Sheriff Peter Elliot and his team be able to piece together the available clues to find Stacey before it is too late?

Kit Karson’s murder mystery delivers all the essential elements of the genre. Although this could be read as a standalone, it may be better to begin with the first book to fully appreciate the characters involved. Through multiple perspectives, including those of the perpetrator and victim, Karson provides a comprehensive overview of the unfolding events. The focus is not just on the crime. Karson has taken the time to develop each of the characters, from Sheriff Peter to his dog Zack to Mary at the local dive bar, making each of them authentic. After using the first couple of chapters to describe the setting and the main characters involved, the story jumps right in, continuing at that pace, even though there are a couple of detours in between to focus on building relationships between characters. Although this might look like a police procedural mystery, many locals also come together to help the Sheriff’s office. Overall, Innocence Slain combines suspense, mystery, and community dynamics, making it an interesting read for fans of mysteries.