CRUSHED GARDENIAS by Heather Osborne
Special Agent Rae Hatting has been sent to a small town in Colorado to investigate the disappearance of young girls from several surrounding states. What she finds is not at all what she expected.
Initially submitted to the “Bloody Scotland” crime short story contest in 2014.
A serial killer is on the loose, leaving bodies of young girls dressed in white, adorned with gardenias. Special Agent Rae Hatting of the FBI is called in to try and solve the murders. This is a short story, told in first person POV. The plot is engaging, and kept me involved until the end. The story is well-written and Hatting is a very likable character.
My only point of contention, the last victim had things done to her that the person who was arrested for the crimes could not have done. I felt like that have been overlooked.
I enjoyed this short story and look forward to more of Rae Hatting and her investigations. I give it 4 feathers.
THE FAIREST OF THEM by Heather Osborne
Once upon a time, there was a murder…
Rae Hatting returns in her first, full-length novel, “The Fairest of Them.”
Detective Luke Thompson is a hero cop, with a string of solved serial killer cases under his belt. He comes to California, thinking he can disappear quietly into the forests, isolated from the rest of the world. His expertise is called upon to help with a mysterious serial killer, dumping bodies dressed like fairy tale characters in the woods outside of Mendocino County. With the help of a profiler, Luke finally gets the break he needs, as well as finding romance for himself. Tragedy strikes, and Luke is left despondent, unable to carry on as a detective. Can a fiery redhead from the FBI help him out of the slump?
Determined to leave the life of solving unsolvable homicides behind, Special Agent Rae Hatting tries to settle into a normal life with her adopted daughter, Grace. However, her reputation precedes her, and Rae finds herself back in the fray, called upon to help solve a series of gruesome fairy tale style murders in California. Her only obstacle is Detective Luke Thompson. Broody, stubborn, and an all-around pain in the ass, the pair must work together before another victim ends up never finding their happily ever after.
This is the second book in the Rae Hatting mysteries. It’s broken into several parts. Part one takes place in 2005 with Lucas Thompson who is investigating a possible serial killer. All the bodies are left staged as a character from a fairy tale. We follow his frustrations as the clues that he needs to capture the killer, or killers eludes him. Melinda Rawlings is an FBI profiler, who uncovers some new evidence. But as she gets closer to discovering who the killer is, she incurs his/her wrath.
After a seven year lull, another body is found posed like a fairy tale character. Devastated by his grief, Lucas has pulled away from lie, hiding away in his cabin. Wanting to catch the serial killer once and for all, Captain Frank Harris begs Rae Hatting to come investigate the murders and hopefully find them some new leads. But the biggest obstacle Rae faces is getting Lucas back on the case.
I really liked the characters of Lucas and Melinda. Their romance may have happened a little fast, but they were meant for each other. I don’t want to put out any spoilers, but Osborne did a great job with Lucas and his grief. Then Rae Hatting comes on the scene. I enjoyed the interplay between Rae and Lucas, and you could see a spark between the two.
Even though the story is told from a first person POV, there was no confusion on who was telling the story. Osborne did a good job at keeping their personalities separate. The story was fast-paced, well-written, and kept me turning the pages. As for a plot twist, I can’t say I was surprised at the ending.
My only point of contention, Frank and Lucas knew who the killer was at the end of Part One. I just couldn’t understand why they didn’t pursue their leads at that time.
If you love a good psychological thriller, with a little romance, I recommend this book. I’m looking forward to reading more about Lucas and Rae and I give the book 4 feathers