Retribution by A. M. Hill, the Prose Pitch Winner, is a suspenseful murder mystery that examines what it means to be a writer and the fandom that can surround your work. Jessica Wright is a well known and very successful murder mystery writer, who finds her books drawing her into a series of serial murders. Not only is she trying to handle the fact that there is someone using her work to inspire real life horrors, but Jessica is dealing with issues within her long term relationship.
The story begins with a terrifying nightmare, where Jessica is trying to save her girlfriend, Daniella. She’s been dealing with horrible dreams for weeks, but she keeps attributing them to the stress of finishing her most recent book. With her emotions already on edge Jessica finds herself in a compromising situation with her assistant, Christina. As the murder rate continues to rise, the police reveal to Daniella, she’s a well known lawyer, that each death resembles a scene from one of Jessica’s books. Both women try to cope with this tragic news, but as Jessica looks for support from Christina surprising twists are revealed as everything begins to spiral out of control for the writer.
I found Retribution at ClexaCon in Las Vegas and after reading the description I knew I needed to buy it. I absolutely love murder mysteries and this was the first time that I had ever found one that focused on a lesbian lead. Jessica’s sexuality is not over sexualized, but just a natural aspect of her personality. Many of you may be thinking why are you focusing on that aspect, but having a queer character in a book often becomes the key element of their personality. Retribution kept me guessing until the end and the murderer and their plot surprised me. The connection between Jessica’s nightmares and the real world was also something that kept me on my toes throughout. This is also a very quick read, I read it while waiting to board a plane right after ClexaCon ended and I didn’t want to put it down. I look forward to reading more from A.M. Hill in the future.
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