Book Forty-Six of 2014: JUST EVIL by Vickie McKeehan

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For forty years the double murder of an elderly couple in the Hollywood Hills remained unsolved and all but forgotten. No one cared. But a stranger, bent on revenge, is out to change all that. 
Kit Griffin has finally overcome a painful childhood at the hands of her mother, former actress Alana Stevens. No longer living in the grasp of the cold, tyrannical woman, Kit has found a new life tucked away in little San Madrid, California, running a business she loves, surrounded by friends she considers family. For the first time her life is on track. That is, until Alana is found brutally murdered on Mother’s Day, pulling Kit back in to the dark horrors of her past. To make matters worse, the police consider her the prime suspect.
Jake Boston, an old family friend and the man Kit has loved since she was a teen, is fighting his own demons as a suspect in his wife’s murder two years earlier. Despite his past, he’s determined to win Kit over once and for all. But before that can happen they need to convince the police there’s a killer working his way down a list with cold-hearted vengeance in mind. 
Forced to delve into Alana’s dark past, it becomes clear someone is out to settle a score. When Jake and Kit uncover a forty year old double murder that leads them straight to the door of a legal dynasty, they soon find out just how far the heirs will go to keep the past buried and eliminate all the loose ends to protect their empire. Will Jake and Kit become the next victims or will they find an unexpected guardian angel?

JUST EVIL is the first in a Suspense Romance trilogy called EVIL SECRETS TRILOGY. The trilogy is centered on a series of murders that are happening to one family: a large and corrupt family of lawyers. In the midst of that six people are thrown into the mix, trying to solve a crime that is separate, but has strong connections to the family that is being killed off one by one.

In JUST EVIL, we meet the first set from the group of heroes: Kit Griffin and Jake Boston. Kit Griffin is the daughter of horror starlet, Alanna Stevens, but wants nothing to do with the woman. She opted for a quiet life where she runs her own book and coffee shop. Jake Boston is a CEO of a software company who comes back home from a year long business trip to woo Kit. The murder of Kit’s mother throws everything they knew out the window.

What is interesting about this book is the narrative. I absolutely love how the author did this. The book is written with three different point of views with the occasional moments of the serious series baddies (yep, the killer isn’t the only bad egg. I don’t even consider him bad). There is Kit and Jake, which you would expect in a romance, but then there is the killer. What I love about this is you don’t know why the killer is killing until Kit and crew start trying to put the pieces together in order to save Kit from jail time. You never learn who the killer is. You just know why and how and his feelings about the murder victims.

The mystery of the killer and his purpose go through the whole trilogy, which could make it hard for the reader to understand if they start on a different book first. Also, the story is more like an ensemble with the focus on each couple in their respective book. It’s a great concept and works well for this book.

It is the action and mystery that takes up most of the bulk, but there is some romance. I like the more genre mixed romance, it gives me more to delve into. Sometimes the emotional roller coaster of romance can get a bit overwhelming, but McKeehan’s way of twisting that with the mystery is a great balance. A good read.

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