In Bishop’s (Red-Line: Trust Destiny, 2015, etc.) mystery/thriller series starter with supernatural elements, a reporter helps a man who believes a curse has been killing his lovers.
Grayson Steele and his best friend, Cooper Stone, started a software company that made them millionaires. But Grayson, who rarely leaves his beachfront house on Sea Island, is miserable. Back in high school, one of his friends, Joanie, died from an apparent suicide. Her mother was so distraught that, at Joanie’s funeral, she wished the pain of losing a loved one on all her daughter’s friends. She pointed specifically at Grayson, who became certain that the woman had cursed him. Since then, every time he’s intimate with a woman whom he loves, she dies three days later. Gillian Fletcher is a reporter who hopes to write an article about the reclusive millionaire, and it soon becomes clear (to readers, at least) that she’s prodding Grayson for information on his deceased lovers. She has a theory that it’s not a curse that’s killing the women but a person, although she doesn’t know their motive. She makes an offer to Grayson to feign a sexual relationship with him in order to ensnare the killer. But Grayson soon learns that the reporter is harboring an incredible secret. Bishop’s novel is two books in one: a murder mystery, which reaches an early resolution, followed by a reveal about Gillian that results in a very different kind of story. Readers who’ve already read Bishop’s preceding trilogy will be in familiar terrain, but for others, it will be a somewhat jarring genre shift. Nevertheless, there’s romance and suspense throughout as Grayson and Gillian succumb to their mutual attraction and occasionally find themselves in mortal peril. Lengthy scenes play out with copious dialogue, but they entail engaging discussions about murder suspects or the particulars of Gillian’s family. During action scenes, however, the author truly delivers; in one tension-ridden sequence, Gillian hides from a threat, “her breathing coming in short shallow gasps. Her heart hammered and her side burned from exertion.”
An unconventional but consistently absorbing multigenre tale.