The Second Stage of Grief by Katherine Hayton [Book Review]

I freaking love Katherine Hayton’s writing. I’ve reviewed her books before (Skeletal & Breathe and Release, for example), so when this book came up as the next on my sketchy Kindle carousel, I immediately dove in prepared for a wild ride.


…And figured out halfway through that I was reading the second in a series I’d never started. Thankfully, this book is well-written, and I had no trouble with the story, even without context from the first book.

Book Description

A false accusation. A brutal murder. Can Ngaire find a killer before he finds her?

Ngaire Blakes is trying to put her life back together. The ex-cop resigned from the police after a vicious assault left her battling PTSD. Dragged into a murder investigation, she’s shocked to discover that all the evidence points to her.

When the body count climbs, Ngaire flees to the cold comfort of her estranged father’s hometown. In danger and not knowing who to trust, she severs contact with her closest allies and must learn to rely on herself if she’s going to catch the killer before it’s too late.

The Second Stage of Grief is the second book in a series of mystery novels set in the dark shadows of New Zealand. If you enjoy gritty mysteries, strong women who rise to the challenge, and thrilling psychological suspense, then you’ll love Katherine Hayton’s latest installment in the Ngaire Blakes trilogy.

Buy The Second Stage of Grief to crack the case today.

My Rating

Ngaire Blakes is one of those characters I immediately trusted. Not because she seemed inherently trustworthy, but because she was so real.

She’s the kind of character I feel like I could meet in real life: smart, suspicious, and chock-full of neuroses.

Obviously, I was down to see what life had in store for her, especially when she’s called in to the police station – the one she used to work in – for questioning in the middle of the night by a couple of sketchy guys it seems she used to call friends.

When she realizes she can’t trust anyone as the bodies start to pile up, she flees – and gets even more human. After all, if you can’t trust your friends, co-workers, or even the police, wouldn’t YOU run away to the only place you think you might be safe?

I know I would.

I give this book five of five stars for being suspenseful, unnerving, and full of surprises. I would never, could never, have guessed who the killer was, and the alternate story woven in with it left my jaw on the floor. Buy this book – but probably start with the first in the series if you can.

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