Power Struggle is a murder-mystery with a thriller tone that takes the readers on a journey of action, suspense and emotions.
Madison Knight, a smart and strong detective, is not one to go down without a fight, even when the stakes are high. The nightmares haunted her ever since Constantine Romanov, a Russian hit-man, slid through the prison bars ten months ago. She tried to remind herself of how impossible it is for him to return to Stiles—the fictional city this story is set in—but when a murder case pops up, Madison knows how this all can connect back to the Russian mafia; all she needs is a proof or Constantine himself.
I really liked this book. The third-person limited narration works as the strongest asset of the story. It’s uncommon to find a murder mystery that not only keeps the suspense built or the killer a secret but also tags the readers alongside the protagonist. There aren’t any disclosures or firm theories shoved in the face of the reader; there are possible speculations that are mentioned even if they aren’t correct. This made it possible to penetrate the mind of Detective Knight and actually live the conundrum.
“Were you close with Jimmy?” This time she intentionally used Bates’ first name to establish familiarity and friendliness.
Tiny details are mentioned and pondered over to give an insight to the way Knight worked…or thought.
“She’s shaking and biting her bottom lip quite often and fidgeting with her hands.”
Those traits could indicate shock, nervousness or guilt. After all, she had the attention of Stiles PD and not in a good way. The person to find a dead body always fell under suspicion.
Another positive point is the slow disclosure of revelations; this made the story more of a progressive account rather than an information dump. Everything doesn’t makes sense immediately but as things keep unraveling, the bigger picture comes into focus. It’s almost phenomenal how everything is intriguing to a reader despite of being exposed to all the current happenings in the scene.
Characters are quite well developed with a special, and much deserved, emphasis on the main character, Madison. She is an excellently crafted persona who isn’t flawless or ideal. She makes mistakes, she regrets making those mistakes, and tries her best to correct them. Not only this, her commitment issues made her relationship with Troy, her boyfriend, difficult, leading to more turmoil to an already long list of issues. Madison’s equation with her mother is another addition to a hard but realistic life of this character. Basically, the story is not just about a killer and his killing, but also dips into the protagonist’s problems.
She didn’t know how to respond. Nothing in life was guaranteed. There was a part of her that second-guessed her good fortune with Troy and at least partially expected it to fall apart. Two things she excelled at were solving murders and pushing people away.
The climax was good. More than the execution of it, I loved how it revolved around our fighter lady and she did what she wanted to do—what she had to do. There wasn’t any damsel in distress situation set up for a man, or the SWAT team (of which Troy was a part of) in this regard, to rescue Madison or her sister, Chelsea. This definitely fueled my need for strong female characters and all in all, made my day! Another teeny tiny bit that made my feminist soul happy was how Madison wasn’t resigning from this case, despite of her personal connection to the scenario, because she wanted to prove to her boss that the police force is not a boys-only-club.
Just one thing that didn’t work for me—and cost a half-star—was the failure to not use the mainstream tactic that pops into one’s head when there’s a number code to decipher. Over the entire length of the novel, the expert team who had strained their eyes by continuously staring at the ten digits, that were meant to be something, couldn’t figure out what it was. In fact, this wasn’t even what let me down; it’s the timing of the revelation that disappointed me. Suddenly, now that the climax is going to peak, everybody gets to this ten-digit-code and cracks it in a few minutes…what? Why didn’t they try doing that all this time? And the code is apparently an important evidence and clue.
I totally recommend this to those who enjoy murder-mysteries and a female detective who is keen on solving a crime as well as her own dismantled life.
I received a digital ARC of this book via a blot tour sign up but that in no way influences my review of it. Thank you Enchanted Book Promotions and Carolyn Arnold!