I was so excited when Lethal Beauty, the sequel to A Deadly Business, became available for review! I am was a big fan of the second book in the Mia Quinn series, and really do need to go back and read the first book. The second and third books are still enjoyable without reading the first, but I think some things would make more sense. However, I don't think you could read the third book without reading the second one.
Mia Quinn's husband was recently killed in a car accident (in book one I think) and she discovered that there was more to his death than met the eye (in book two) and now she's about to find out about one of those dark, twisted parts of life that most people don't know. As an assistant prosecutor in Seattle, Mia is trying a case in which a rich, white man murdered a young, Asian prostitute in a "massage parlor." He's claiming self-defense and the prosecution's only witness has disappeared. In the middle of it all, Mia's son Gabe has started using steroids, and the body of a man who was searching for her has washed up in the sound. Things grow more confusing when a church pianist is murdered in front of the congregation on a Sunday morning. Mia, along with homicide detective Charlie Carlson, and defense attorney Eli Hall, must figure out how all of these things are connected before more lives are lost.
This is a nice wrap-up for the mystery that's been building in the first two books, but a little disappointing overall. I found Mia's character to be a little clueless and shallow in this book. Was she really so absent that when her son started using illegal drugs she didn't even notice? Her job keeps her so busy that she leaves her daughter at home with a woman struggling through chemo treatments most of the time. After coming home one night and finding that the kids have made chocolate chip cookies for dinner, Mia throws away all of the junk food out of the house, and decides to eat only healthy foods from now on. This just seemed to come from left-field and didn't really fit in the plot. When I take into consideration that Mia is a single mother trying to work to support her family, these issues become more reasonable, but still are annoying for me.
As for the plot, it had just the right amount of complexity that I've come to expect from Ms. Wiehl. She really brings the whole mystery to a close very nicely, if rather quickly. I liked how it all ended, and I'll tell you that there was an unexpected hero who saved the day, and that was a nice touch. I know that this is not a romance series, but part of me just wants Mia to choose between Charlie and Eli already! Okay, so I really just want her to choose Charlie. I also think this series is a great way to inform people about modern-day slavery in the United States. I did know that it existed before reading this book, but not to what extent. I hope that enough people become away of this problem, and that ways can be found to end it.
Although the big mystery has been solved, I really hope this is not the last Mia Quinn book. Ms. Wiehl's stories are so interesting and diverse. Her plots are always twisted in such a way that it's hard to know which side of the fence you are on. She can take a character who does something wrong, and show you their motive and you truly feel bad for them. Since life is often the same way, I think that adds a realistic element to her books. I hope to read more of her books in the future, but I'm really hoping for more Mia Quinn!
I was given an advance copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own and a favorable review was not required. Look for Lethal Beauty at your favorite bookseller on or around March 3, 2015.