Bad Memory Book Review

Bad Memory Book Review

Title: Bad Memory
Author: Lisa Gray
Published: October 24, 2019, Thomas & Mercer
No. of Pages: 315
Cover Price: $7.99 Paperback, $4.99 Kindle

Bad Memory is the second installment in the Jessica Shaw series by Lisa Gray. Jessica is a PI working in the small desert town, Hundred Acres, in California. She works for a small PI office for Ed Crozier, the town Pi who has been working forever, and the firm does mostly small jobs like missing persons and unfaithful spouses. However, Rose Dalton, sister of Rue Hunter comes to Jessica to ask her to find out if her sister really committed two gruesome murders 30 years prior. At the time of the murders, Rue confessed to the murders of her two best friends after hours of pressure from local detectives – she had been on drugs and drunk to the point that she couldn’t remember what happened that night. She has now spent 30 years in prison. Her execution is scheduled to take place in a matter of days, and Jessica cannot turn down the money offered to look into the case. Everyone in the small town is sure Rue is guilty, and friends of Jessica, including her mentor Jason Pryce, a well-respected detective, are furious that she would take the case.

As Jessica investigates, she opens up town secrets that have been covered up or forgotten. Her life is now in danger, and she must be careful. While Rue has nightmares from the past, her nightmares don’t give definitive answers. Like a good thriller, there are plenty of twists and turns, as well as a surprising dénouement. Suspense starts to build in the prologue and continues throughout the novel.

Gray is a good writer and the story is fascinating; this story will keep readers on the edges of their seats. She is also good at developing her characters. Most readers, however, want a protagonist that they can look up to – one that is upstanding, albeit a rule breaker and risk taker when necessary, and one that can do a little more than most regular people. While Jessica is an excellent PI, she is basically trailer trash. She drinks a lot (actually every day and spends a lot of time in bars), smokes cigarettes, and has a full sleeve tattoo on her right arm, as well as piercings. This is not the type of hero most readers want. She also uses a lot of profanity.

This is a series, but most readers may not want to read the subsequent novels because it’s hard to relate to or like someone who is so different from most of us. Readers who like a good story and aren’t bothered by a classless protagonist with a dirty mouth may enjoy this book as well as the entire series.

Special thanks to NetGalley for supplying a review copy of this book.

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