Rapid Death

The Desert Pines Mystery Series Book Two

Fiction - Mystery - Murder
348 Pages
Reviewed on 05/20/2024
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite

Rapid Death by Julie Titterington is the second book in the Desert Pines Mystery series. Another day, another mystery. When a raft is found abandoned and a girl goes missing, Jane is sent spinning as she searches for answers. Her life has since settled down into a nice routine yet trouble still seems to find her. Nothing is ever simple as each new clue seems more baffling than the previous one. She discovers a startling secret about the victim that could explain her mysterious identity and behavior. But was it enough to lead to someone wanting the girl dead? Jane works alongside Detective Joe Connor and finds they strike the right balance. The more she uncovers, the stranger the case seems to get. Will their partnership be enough to catch the culprit?

Julie Titterington has created a realistic character in Jane with relatable attributes. This makes her a fun sleuth to solve a case with and she makes you want to return for another mystery. The characters are delightfully layered in ways that balance well with Jane’s personality. Her partnership with Joe continues to develop as their dynamic is rooted in respect and trust. The twist in the mystery is genuinely surprising and brings together all the clues for a well-developed conclusion. The writing has a playful element that creates the ideal balance in a mix of emotional and dangerous stakes. The author excels at establishing a cozy tone and makes the genre feel like a breath of fresh air. The lightness helps keep the story from becoming too serious though it does maintain genuine emotion that makes you care about the mystery. This is a highly recommended read and will make for the perfect addition to a cozy mystery lover's bookshelf. Rapid Death is humorous and charming with delightful characters and amazing writing that will keep you turning the pages.

Shrabastee Chakraborty

Dr. Jane McLaren would do anything to forget her near-death experience and the person responsible for it. However, juggling the family clinic with the newly acquired café proves overwhelming. To make matters worse, the Desert Pines police department recovers a body from the Cascadia River, demanding her expertise as the medical consultant. The drowned girl, Jessica Kinneman, seems to be universally hated because of her behavior and never-ending debts. Yet, why is it so difficult to find any information about her life? Is the death accidental or premeditated? More importantly, why would multiple people claim to have seen Jessica the day after she presumably died? Find out in Rapid Death, the second book in the Desert Pines Mystery Series by Julie Titterington.

I loved the small-town vibe of this novel, although the stakes seemed higher than typical cozy mysteries. Julie Titterington has crafted a plot so convoluted that it throws the reader off balance with every twist. The moment I would predict something, more evidence would come along and prove my assumptions wrong! However, as I read on, seemingly disjointed puzzle pieces fell into place, revealing the intricate mystery. The cast boasts an eclectic mix of characters, including an obnoxious and racist businessman, an obstinate elderly doctor, and a cold-hearted casino owner. I liked how realistic the author made these characters so that each one elicited the desired response from the reader. I admired the strength and resilience of Jane, who, despite her traumatic experiences, staunchly performs her duties. The hint of an unstated romance made the read even more enjoyable. I recommend Rapid Death to anyone who loves a stimulating mystery.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

Rapid Death by Julie Titterington is a small-town cozy mystery. Dr. Jane McLaren really wants a quiet life, especially after the last year. She’s not just a doctor and partner at the health clinic; she also owns Hot Lava Java, the local café. But while Desert Pines should be a sleepy town, it’s starting to seem like a magnet for death. Jane attends a murder scene, a body identified as a police officer and the partner of one of her employee’s tenants, who has also gone missing. When another body turns up a few days later, the race is on for Jane and Detective Joe Connor. Can they solve the mystery before more bodies turn up? Will Jane’s past come back to haunt her once more?

Rapid Death by Julie Titterington is the second book in The Desert Pines Mystery Series but I read it as a standalone. There are lots of characters in this story, but they all play an important role, which becomes clear as you read. It has a complex plot, and the narrative is told by more than one character. However, the point-of-view switches are clear and easy to follow, and each chapter reveals something new to the reader. This story will hook you right from the start, its complex plot, with all the clues gradually weaving together as the book romps toward a surprising ending. This is one of the twistiest stories I have ever read, but it is still easy to read and follow, and you’ll love getting to know the characters – some of them will leave an indelible impression on you. A highly enjoyable story, but I would recommend reading it in context with the first book in the series.