Author: Christi Daugherty
Series: Harper McClain, #1
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Publication Date: March 13, 2018
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️🌟 (4.75 stars)
When a murder echoing a fifteen-year-old cold case rocks the Southern town of Savannah, crime reporter Harper McClain risks everything to find the identity of this calculated killer.
A city of antebellum architecture, picturesque parks, and cobblestone streets, Savannah moves at a graceful pace. But for Harper McClain, the timeless beauty and culture that distinguishes her home’s Southern heritage vanishes during the dark and dangerous nights. She wouldn’t have it any other way. Not even finding her mother brutally murdered in their home when she was twelve has made her love Savannah any less.
Her mother’s killer was never found, and that unsolved murder left Harper with an obsession that drove her to become one of the best crime reporters in the state of Georgia. She spends her nights with the police, searching for criminals. Her latest investigation takes her to the scene of a homicide where the details are hauntingly familiar: a young girl being led from the scene by a detective, a female victim naked and stabbed multiple times in the kitchen, and no traces of any evidence pointing towards a suspect.
Harper has seen all of this before in her own life. The similarities between the murder of Marie Whitney and her own mother’s death lead her to believe they’re both victims of the same killer. At last, she has the chance to find the murderer who’s eluded justice for fifteen years and make sure another little girl isn’t forever haunted by a senseless act of violence―even if it puts Harper in the killer’s cross-hairs…
The fundamental mistrust between the police and the press created a hazy no-man’s-land between the two, draped in emotional barbed wire.
Stop the press— this is one series opener you don’t want to miss! From the opening paragraphs, I could tell that The Echo Killing was going to be a winner, and only a couple chapters in, I was pausing to look up Christi Daugherty’s background and figure out why I hadn’t heard of her before. The Echo Killing packs one heck of a punch as Daugherty’s debut adult novel, and I’m already so invested in Harper McClain’s story and eagerly awaiting the next book in the series.
If there are two adjectives for Daugherty’s writing style, they’re atmospheric and character-driven. She paints a gorgeous picture of Savannah, Georgia, and fills in the edges with her own expertise from her years as a Southern journalist. I love how real the city feels, a portrayal only possible by someone who loves it at its best and its worst. It’s easy to feel lost wandering the picturesque roads, the air thick with humidity, but it’s just as easy to feel lost whizzing through Savannah’s grittier streets en route to the latest crime scene, the air thick with tension and anticipation.
Daugherty’s other undeniable strength is her characters, and I was rooting for Harper in everything from her job to her love life to her complicated relationship with the police. She’s a layered character, fierce and flawed, and we get to see her in all sorts of different environments that play to her weaknesses and strengths. It’s clear that the possible connection to her mother’s case is driving her to the point of obsession and recklessness, but she’s always clever and resourceful, even when she’s in the wrong. I really appreciated her easy friendship with Bonnie, her simmering attraction to Luke, and her amused patience with DJ.
The only reason why I’m not giving this the full five stars is because I found much of the plot to be predictable. Nevertheless, that didn’t really detract from the story for me because I was so invested in the characters and their reactions. It didn’t matter to me if I could see the big bad or Harper’s next step coming, I still wanted to know how they would affect the dynamics between those involved.
I love where all of the characters ended up at the conclusion of the novel and appreciate how not everything is tied up with a neat bow; there are enough open questions to keep me anxious for the sequel. This is a powerful series opener, and I’m truly looking forward to Harper McClain’s next adventure.