When a contestant on a popular reality show is found dead on an isolated island off Australia’s coast, Detective Charlie Cooper and his partner, Joe Quinn, are sent to investigate. The victim, not popular with anyone associated with the show, was suffocated in her bed, and Cooper and Quinn learn that everyone is a suspect. The popularity of the show has drawn attention from their higher-ups and the media, and the pressure is on them to solve the case quickly.
Dark Paradise by Catherine Lee is a novella that follows their investigation as they painstakingly piece together clues and eliminate suspects, one-by-one, until they focus on the one most likely. The problem; they have no proof, and the clock is ticking.
While there is some focus on police procedure, the main focus in this entertaining little tale is the mental processes the two heroes follow as they zero in on the main suspect.
Detective Sergeant Charlie Cooper is ready to get out of homicide so he can spend more time with his family. But, when the serial killer he’s been pursuing for a decade is murdered, with one of his victims still missing and unaccounted for, he decides to stay on in the hopes he can rescue her and bring some closure to the families of the other victims.
Eva Matthews has a bad ticker, but is saved at the last minute when she receives a heart transplant. Immediately after a successful operation, she begins having strange dreams. When she learns that her heart came from the murdered serial killer, and a reporter starts hounding her for help finding his missing wife, she and Cooper’s paths cross.
Dark Heart by Catherine Lee is a jolting read that explores not just the details of police efforts to close the books on a sadistic killer, but a psychological thriller that delves into the mysteries of the human mind. The ending, which ties up every loose end and clue the author so skillfully planted throughout, will both surprise and satisfy.
I give Lee five stars for a well-crafted story.