The Price of Murder

Shepherd & Associates Series - Book 3

Fiction - Mystery - Sleuth
331 Pages
Reviewed on 01/30/2024
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Essien Asian for Readers' Favorite

Jake Shepherd is called in to investigate the suspicious case of a home invasion that has gone wrong. With a dead mother on the scene and the only available witness being her young daughter who is too traumatized to talk, Jake suspects there is more to this developing story than meets the eye. He teams up with some of Florida’s finest security agents to find the truth behind the crime but with a list of possible suspects that is growing by the day, he may need more than just his wits and talent to prevent himself from becoming collateral damage in Judith Erwin’s The Price Of Murder: Shepherd & Associates Serie, Book 3.

A riveting detective drama plays itself out in Judith Erwin’s novel about a murder within a small circle. The author infuses an impressive degree of detail into the plot from the onset as the opening meeting between Jake, Scarlett, and Lila sets the tone for what to expect while the novel progresses while also explaining their origin stories to the reader. The conversations between the characters are realistic and the investigation process covers even the minor details. When you factor in the makings of a potential romantic subplot between Shepherd and Scarlett into this mix, what you have is an impressive novel where the action is end-to-end and the suspense is thick enough to cut with a knife. The Price Of Murder is a top-quality novel in a series with the potential to be up there among the greats.

Pikasho Deka

The Price of Murder is the third installment of the Shepherd & Associates Series by Judith Erwin. Former FBI agent-turned-private investigator Jake Shepherd and his partner, Scarlett Kavanaugh, travel to the Florida coast to investigate the theft of valuable paintings and jewelry from an oceanfront property for an insurance company. During the robbery, Emily Jameson, a Texas oil empire heiress, was found dead, presumably murdered. As Jake investigates further, he discovers that Emily's husband, Rick, may have been involved with another woman. But he has an alibi. Meanwhile, more dead bodies are linked to the case, and a bloody shootout lands Rick in a critical coma. As Jake works with the local authorities, FBI, and Interpol, an attempt is made on his life. Now, with Scarlett missing, will Jake be able to catch the person pulling the strings?

Judith Erwin delivers yet another captivating crime thriller for murder mystery lovers. The Price of Murder is a gem of a novel for anyone who enjoys whodunit stories full of mystery, suspense, and intrigue. Erwin has crafted some truly compelling characters. From the very first page, you are plunged into this absorbing plot that becomes increasingly intricate with each page turned. Erwin's witty dialogue and humor are the icing on the cake. The conversations and character interactions drive the narrative forward and you will become attached to some of the characters, who you can't help rooting for. Jake has an interesting dynamic with Scarlett, filled with flirtatious back-and-forth banter and layered with genuine care and respect for each other. All in all, this is a fantastic yarn for fans of sleuth murder mysteries.

Alma Boucher

The Price of Murder is a thrilling murder mystery by Judith Erwin. A woman is killed in the course of a high-end heist at a multi-million-dollar beachside property on Ponte Vedra Boulevard. Her five-year-old daughter finds her mother's lifeless body. To look into the theft of masterpiece artwork from the property, Jake and Scarlett go to Florida. Jake refuses to believe it was a case of a horrible home invasion, so he and Scarlett work with FBI agents and local law enforcement to piece together a complicated crime. It soon becomes clear that someone will do everything in their power to prevent the truth from coming out. Jake is wounded during a shootout, and then something happens that stops him in his tracks.

The Price of Murder was complex and intriguing. Judith Erwin created a world of crime, thrills, and romance. The story was fast-paced and jam-packed with action. I never knew what would happen next, and the suspense kept me on the edge of my seat. With all the twists and turns, I was kept guessing until the very end. The characters were well-developed and authentic. Jake is the private investigator that I would hire to solve a murder case. At times, I liked him, and at other times, he was a pain. He came across as someone who did not care much, but he went out of his way to get the case solved. The story was brilliantly written, and I was captivated from the start. The major twist at the end was a big surprise.

Olga Markova

The Price of Murder: Shepherd & Associates Series Book 3 by Judith Erwin is a suspenseful crime thriller featuring Jake Shepherd and Scarlett Kavanaugh. Jake Shepherd, a private sleuth and former FBI agent, is instructed by his client's insurance firm to investigate the high-end robbery of the multimillion-dollar oceanfront mansion in Florida owned by Emily Jameson, the only daughter of a billionaire oil tycoon. Emily was killed. Among other items, expensive paintings were stolen. The only witness was Emily’s five-year-old daughter Vivienne. Shortly before Emily’s death, her husband took out a two-million death benefit policy on Emily. Assisted by Scarlett Kavanaugh, a Harvard law graduate who left law practice to train as a sleuth, Jake takes on the case. But will Jake and Scarlett solve this mystery?

The ninth novel by award-winning Judith Erwin, and her third novel in the Shepherd & Associates series, The Price of Murder is a brilliant, cozy, and perfectly standalone read. This mystery captivated me from the first episode and kept me glued until the jaw-dropping climax. I liked how Judith deftly created the breathtaking action-packed suspense by focusing on the psychological aspects of the investigation. Jake and Scarlett's relationships and Jake’s rivalry with FBI operatives harmoniously enhance the story, making Jake and Scarlett realistic, multi-dimensional, and relatable. I highly recommend this exhilarating mystery to crime fiction, murder mystery, suspense, and action thriller fans. I look forward to the reunion with Jake and Scarlett in Judith’s upcoming novel, a taster of which is featured in this book.

Risah Salazar

Jake Shepherd, a lawyer and former Fed who has now established his private investigation firm, Shepherd and Associates, and Scarlett Kavanaugh, a retired lawyer undergoing training in the firm, are assigned to a high-end art robbery case gone wrong. Lila Stonebridge, VP of the Fraud Division, is convinced that the murder was not a by-product of the unsuccessful theft. She suspects the husband is responsible for the gruesome fate of Emily Jameson. His uncooperative and defensive behavior does not help. Jake and Scarlett move along with the investigation as professionals, but they cannot deny what they feel, despite what they tell themselves and others. After days of questioning people, things remain bleak until more people are either found dead or shot in broad daylight.

The Price of Murder captures the reader’s interest right from the beginning. The crime is the perfect whodunnit case, and the romantic tension between Jake and Scarlett is nerve-racking. Readers will also appreciate the short chapters that serve as bits of a bigger puzzle, luring them to keep turning the pages and supporting the protagonists in digging up the truth. As the story progresses, more and more officials get involved, but Erwin ensures that their backgrounds and motivations are clear enough not to overwhelm the audience. The coherence of the chronological events and details becomes evident by showing and not telling, which is how narratives should be. With slick dialogues and a fast pace, Judith Erwin proves her writing style to be one of the best. The Price of Murder is the third installment in the Shepherd and Associates series but can be read as a standalone.