Southern Cross by Jen Blood
Jen Blood has done it again, come up with another terrific tale about Erin Solomon, her old friend Diggs and her lover, FBI man Juarez. The story starts six months after the horrific events of the last book where Diggs and Erin passed through 48 hrs of hell while being hunted in the woods by a homicidal maniac. They’ve not seen each other since then, following the advice of the man in the hood – stop looking for answers or I’ll kill him, meaning Diggs. The unanswered questions are about Erin’s father and his relationship to a string of murders that make up the first two books in this series.
This book begins with Erin and Diggs coming back together when Digg’s best childhood friend is found murdered. Erin knows how hard it will be for her friend, so she wants to be by his side, with the blessing of Juarez, who’s attitude to Erin’s long term friendship with Diggs is very mature. Juarez is a great guy, but Diggs and Erin have a chemistry.
The murder of Digg’s friend is just the tip of the iceberg. Things rapidly get worse, until the whole town is threatened with destruction by a crazy preacher. The dangerous cult theme continues in this book with the twisted beliefs and activities of the local preacher, reverent Barnel. What is perhaps most chilling are the people who believe this guy and let him brand their kids with a cross. Although this is fiction, like all good fiction, it is very real. This is the stuff of the Jonestown massacre.
Like the other Erin Solomon stories, the pace never lets up. The book grabs you at page one and keeps you turning. I’d starting reading this one early of you want to get to sleep.
Ms Blood does an impressive job of reminding you of the last story without the information being intrusive. She also deepens the characters, particularly that of Diggs, and develops the relationship between him and Erin, thus neatly continuing to move the series forward. Diggs shines in this story, and I found myself really getting to like this man despite his flaws. Thinking you’re about to die does help people realise what is most important in their lives, and Ms Blood uses this fact to help cut through some of Digg’s bluster so we and Erin can get to know the vulnerable guy beneath.
Make no mistake here, Ms Blood is an extremely talented author. The traditional publishing system lost out big time when she decided to go Indie. She tells a good story and writes it extremely well with engaging immediate prose, excellent pacing and a powerful plot.
If you like mysteries or thrillers, this is a must read, and if you rarely read those genres then this is one you should pick up anyway.
The ending leaves us with the distinct impression that there is something bigger behind the events in this book and it’s linked to the question Erin is not supposed to ask. There is another book to come in this series, and I am keen to know what Ms Blood has in store for Erin and Diggs, and whether Erin will finally find her answer. Each book just gets bigger and better, and it will be wonderful to finally unravel the connection between the web of events in the different books.
I love the covers in this series too.