Winter Song (Seasons Pass, book #1) by Susan C. Muller

This police procedural is long on discussion about the hero’s dog, long on letting us see the villain’s first person perspective, and long on sentimental details about the hero cop’s mourning over his dead wife. It’s very short on suspense or mystery. The reader knows everything in the first few chapters – the hired killer is a primary character, the dead woman’s husband is the obvious suspect and the cops immediately figure out every element of the crime with minimal effort. All that’s left is whether Noah and Connor (the cops) will catch the killer.

The killer makes things easy by setting out to kill Noah (and his little dog, sweet pea), and the killer coincidentally has parents who live in the house next door and the killer knows how to get in through secret passages. The killer also can (somehow) hack into Noah’s computer. But, will the killer be able to knock off everyone involved in order to save his own hide?  Is that sufficient suspense to sustain a novel?  Not really. There is a lot of well-written details and several characters with emotional issues and deep backstories, which would be great if there was a sufficient plot here to make you want to keep reading. The dog discussions are way too much. The tortured angst of the hero is overdone. The villain is so evil and psychotic (including psycho sexual descriptions that are cringe-worthy) that it’s a wonder he’s not captured immediately.

The writing here is actually good, and well-edited. The publisher and editor should be happy with the craftsmanship of the writing. But the plot is just not there.

The ending is not particularly satisfying, and then there is a too-long wind-down that really makes you wish the author would get to the end already. I picked up this book during a free give-away offer. It was not worth the price, and I will not be buying any of this author’s other books.

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