Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for First Girl to Die. I am now caught up on this series and am very happy to share my review with you. Thanks to Bookouture for the opportunity to read and review this book.
First Girl to Die (Detective Morgan Brookes #4) by Helen Phifer
Published October 11th 2021 by Bookouture
Morgan shudders as she leans out of the window and takes in the familiar blonde curls and clear blue eyes of the fallen girl below. She knows this woman, and she realises with sickening certainty that her friend is now gone forever…
When Detective Morgan Brookes is called to the scene of a suicide, she’s devastated to recognise the young teacher sprawled out on the grass like a broken doll. She hasn’t seen Brittany for years. Not since the tragic death of Morgan’s high-school boyfriend ripped their friendship group apart. But when witnesses describe Brittany’s erratic behaviour and jumbled speech that morning, Morgan is convinced the fearless, life-loving girl she once knew didn’t jump of her own accord.
Traces of poison found in Brittany’s blood prove Morgan’s theory right, but no one can find the source. Then Morgan uncovers a distinctive jar in Brittany’s home filled with toxic herbs, and the sight of it turns her blood to ice. She has a jar just like it, a handmade gift from her aunt. Is this a coincidence, a set-up, or could the only person she’s ever trusted with her damaged past be capable of murder?
Then another woman from Morgan’s past is found, close to the scene of that fatal teenage party. Has Morgan been looking at this all wrong? Are these deaths connected to that deadly night? And how could someone from her own family possibly be involved?
With her aunt’s freedom and more innocent lives at stake, Morgan must dig deep into her painful memories for answers. Who else was there that night, and what exactly did they see? She must stop this twisted killer before any more of her old friends become new victims – but at what cost?
An absolutely heart-stopping and unputdownable crime thriller, perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Lisa Regan and Rachel Abbott.
This is the fourth Detective Morgan Brookes story and I continue to enjoy reading about the team and the crimes they solve. I want to say that I did not read these books in order and it was okay, but because of character development and relationships, I would recommend you do if you are able. Having said that, this book can easily be read as a standalone story. The story opens with a young man falling from rocks and being killed while his friends look on in 2016. Fast forward five years and Morgan is at a school where a teacher is threatening to jump from the staffroom windows. Morgan realizes that this was an old school friend, but she is unable to save her. When another of her school friends is found almost dead in a cave, she is worried that someone is trying to kill all of her group from school. One of the main suspects has ties to Morgan and she is pulled from the case. Can they find the person responsible for the deaths before someone else ends up dead?
I really enjoy the characters that make up the team, including the main CSI and coroner. Morgan is a great protagonist. She is so caring that she gets emotionally involved in her cases, which sometimes helps, but also puts her in danger. She has great instincts, which make her a great detective. It seems everyone on the team really like her and look out for her, whether she needs them to or not. Ben is her boss, but also her co-worker. They have feelings for one another, but have not acted upon them. He also has good instincts and a sixth sense where Morgan is concerned. The rest of the team, Amy, Des, Wendy, Declan, are all great characters as well and round out a great group of “coppers” as well as the secondary roles of CSI and Coroner. The mystery was well done. If someone ingests something to make them psychotic and they do something while in that state that gets them killed, is it murder? Who is giving them the poison? Does it have anything to do with that night five years ago? Morgan is like a dog with a bone when she is involved in a case and even when she is pulled off, she can’t stop. Helen Phifer takes the readers on a merry chase trying to find out what is going on. I had a few ideas along the way, but changed my mind a few times. There are not a lot of suspects but lots of clues and red herrings. As the story began to wind down, I could clearly see (the same time as Morgan) who the culprit was, but it was almost too late. First Girl to Die was a gripping page turner that kept me reading once I started. It is a quick, engrossing, story that I enjoyed, and one that kept me guessing right until the end. I definitely recommend this one to those who enjoy crime thrillers. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating and opinions shared are my own.
About the Author: Helen Phifer’s love of reading began with Enid Blyton, before progressing on to Laura Ingals Wilder and scaring herself with Steven King. If she can’t write for any particular reason she finds herself getting itchy fingers and really irritable. She loves reading as much as writing and is also very fond of chocolate, Prosecco, The Lake District, New York, white Zinfandel wine, her children and grandchildren, her friends, porn star martini cocktails, Stephen King, watching scary films, Marilyn Monroe, Melissa McCarthy, Idris Elba, Simon Baker, Spandau Ballet, The Munsters and coffee. In no particular order.