Flashpoint (The Sonora Blair Mysteries #1) by Lynn Hightower (1996; 2015)
Fiction | Crime & Mystery
“A New York Times Notable Book: Cincinnati homicide detective Sonora Blair hunts a serial killer who’s playing with fire in Shamus Award–winning author Lynn Hightower’s chilling thriller
A single mother of two children and a police specialist with the Cincinnati Homicide Division, Sonora Blair is still awake in the middle of the night when the call comes in. Mark Daniels has been found in Mount Airy Forest handcuffed to the steering wheel of his car, doused with accelerant, and set on fire. As the hideously burned college student lies dying in the ER, he describes his killer: blond, female, and a total stranger.
But Mark may not have been the intended victim. Evidence points to a sexual fixation on his older brother, Keaton, a teacher currently separated from his wife. Then the murderer—who has been dubbed “Flash” by the media—calls Sonora one night, taunting and mocking her. As the investigation heats up, the harassment continues. The female psychopath knows intimate details about Sonora’s family and her past. As the criminal’s monstrous plan becomes chillingly apparent, Sonora must risk everything to corner a cunning killer.
Flashpoint is the 1st book in the Sonora Blair Mysteries, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order.”
Flashpoint (Kindle edition) expected Publication Date: October 27, 2015
pooled ink Review:
Hightower definitely succeeds in the details department. Generally much appreciated but ugh it was so gross reading about the victim. When I watch a crime drama and they show the victim I can sort of blink quick and look away if it’s pretty gruesome but reading the details forces your brain to envision the poor guy exactly as he is. Yeah I’m not so good with that stuff but regardless I applaud Hightower on her usage of detail.
Detail was used not only to describe people but situations, what’s happening, etcetera. There was enough to create a clear image and tone but not so much that it was adjective-overkill or descriptions the length of a Homer epic. No it was definitely a good balance. I feel like I’m writing a lot about one tiny element of this book but to me it’s a standout and therefore important to acknowledge.
The action of the book was balanced well with the thought-processes, intellectual pieces, and the general day-to-day routines. Reading this book was like watching an extended un-cut episode of CSI or Law & Order. You were not only taken on a ride for the big stuff but for the small bits of everyday life in-between adding to the realism of this book. The detective mystery was thrilling and interesting compiling chains of evidence, clues, twists, threats, motives, and players. Flashpoint sets a brisk pace for the reader to keep up with because Sonora is like a bloodhound trapped on the scent and won’t be easily dissuaded from the hunt.
Character development was quite good, I could easily get a reasonable sense of the major players and distinguish the difference in their manners of speaking, thinking, and behaving. The killer was best part though in areas of both intrigue and development. This book contained touches of banter, drama, normalcy, insanity, frustration, desperation, deep determination, drive, and fierceness. For all you criminals in the fictional realm of Cincinnati, watch out for Sonora.
This book ends with an unfair hook to the next case! You can’t help but read the book through ‘til the end but once you do you’ll realize you’ve been baited and hooked onto awaiting the next book in the Sonora Blair Mysteries intrigued by the next case as duty calls. Okay I admit that I’m not entirely sure that this is a rabbit hole that I will pursue but it was a good book nonetheless and I’d be surprised if many of you crime-horror fans out there will be able to resist.
If you’re into crime fiction or detective stories then give this one a whirl. Flashpoint is as high-paced and thrilling as any TV crime drama but with all the bonuses of being a book. Tantalizing, brusque, tender, and twisted this crime fiction will grab you by the gut and drag you through to the high-risk conclusion.
Purchase here: Flashpoint
Meet Lynn Hightower!
Lynn Hightower grew up in Kentucky, and graduated from the University of Kentucky, where she studied creative writing with Wendell Berry and earned a degree in Journalism. She also teaches novel writing in the Writer’s Program at UCLA. Survival jobs include writing television commercials, catering waitress, and bartender for one day.