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A Desperate Place: A McKenna and Riggs Novel

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Perfect for fans of Tess Gerritsen's Rizzoli & Isles and Kathy Reichs, comes an explosive debut thriller about a team of two strong women and a crime that will shake you to your core. Three separate homicides. Three unrelated victims. One grisly secret. When the body of famous actress Niki Francis is unearthed from its shallow grave, the small town of Medford, Oregon is alar Perfect for fans of Tess Gerritsen's Rizzoli & Isles and Kathy Reichs, comes an explosive debut thriller about a team of two strong women and a crime that will shake you to your core. Three separate homicides. Three unrelated victims. One grisly secret. When the body of famous actress Niki Francis is unearthed from its shallow grave, the small town of Medford, Oregon is alarmed, but not shook. After all, there should be plenty of motives and suspects--Niki had fame, wealth, looks. The kill was targeted, premeditated, and it's about her celebrity. Or so they thought. Whit McKenna is licking her wounds, working as a reporter for the local Medford rag. Fresh from a harrowing assignment for her previous post at the L. A. Times which cost her her husband, Whit must pull herself together for the sake of her two daughters. The wound has hardly begun to scab when she's called to cover the murder, so she teams up with her best friend, medical examiner Katie Riggs. Then two more victims turn up, completely disconnected from one another, and McKenna loses all hope of a breakthrough. Rather than clarity, the possible suspects and motives become scrambled. But time is running out, and each front page article McKenna writes brings her closer to a killer who will stop at nothing to realize a deadly vision.


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Perfect for fans of Tess Gerritsen's Rizzoli & Isles and Kathy Reichs, comes an explosive debut thriller about a team of two strong women and a crime that will shake you to your core. Three separate homicides. Three unrelated victims. One grisly secret. When the body of famous actress Niki Francis is unearthed from its shallow grave, the small town of Medford, Oregon is alar Perfect for fans of Tess Gerritsen's Rizzoli & Isles and Kathy Reichs, comes an explosive debut thriller about a team of two strong women and a crime that will shake you to your core. Three separate homicides. Three unrelated victims. One grisly secret. When the body of famous actress Niki Francis is unearthed from its shallow grave, the small town of Medford, Oregon is alarmed, but not shook. After all, there should be plenty of motives and suspects--Niki had fame, wealth, looks. The kill was targeted, premeditated, and it's about her celebrity. Or so they thought. Whit McKenna is licking her wounds, working as a reporter for the local Medford rag. Fresh from a harrowing assignment for her previous post at the L. A. Times which cost her her husband, Whit must pull herself together for the sake of her two daughters. The wound has hardly begun to scab when she's called to cover the murder, so she teams up with her best friend, medical examiner Katie Riggs. Then two more victims turn up, completely disconnected from one another, and McKenna loses all hope of a breakthrough. Rather than clarity, the possible suspects and motives become scrambled. But time is running out, and each front page article McKenna writes brings her closer to a killer who will stop at nothing to realize a deadly vision.

30 review for A Desperate Place: A McKenna and Riggs Novel

  1. 5 out of 5

    ABCme

    Right in the middle of a smothering heatwave, the Medford police has three suspicious deaths to deal with. Spurred on by the local newspaper where one journalist dares to dive deeper, the mystery soon turns into a fast paced medical thriller. Both parties bounce off each other which gives the reader an indepth view of the situation. A Desperate Place is a well written intriguing story, filled with interesting characters set in an attractive environment. Thank you Netgalley and Crooked Lane Books Right in the middle of a smothering heatwave, the Medford police has three suspicious deaths to deal with. Spurred on by the local newspaper where one journalist dares to dive deeper, the mystery soon turns into a fast paced medical thriller. Both parties bounce off each other which gives the reader an indepth view of the situation. A Desperate Place is a well written intriguing story, filled with interesting characters set in an attractive environment. Thank you Netgalley and Crooked Lane Books for the ARC.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Gonsalves

    A Desperate Place is a good thriller & a good start for the McKenna and Riggs series. I loved the suspenseful atmosphere set in the book & the nail-biting tension as the plot unfurled. Its been a long time since I read a good thriller & this book certainly made the cut - for the most bit; the ending felt a bit rushed but overall, I enjoyed this book. The book contains scenes from a ME's table that seems too realistic & is not for the squeamish. When the body of Niki Francis is discovered in a sha A Desperate Place is a good thriller & a good start for the McKenna and Riggs series. I loved the suspenseful atmosphere set in the book & the nail-biting tension as the plot unfurled. Its been a long time since I read a good thriller & this book certainly made the cut - for the most bit; the ending felt a bit rushed but overall, I enjoyed this book. The book contains scenes from a ME's table that seems too realistic & is not for the squeamish. When the body of Niki Francis is discovered in a shallow grave, Whit McKenna is sent to cover the developing story. Recovering from a cruel past, Whit must steel herself while she runs around gathering stories & writing articles. Whit teams up with her best friend & medical examiner Katie Riggs to get to the truth. What seems like a straightforward case soon takes a turn for the worse when Whit discovers more casualties. Afraid a serial killer might be stalking Medford, Whit & Katie must work the case before more lives are lost. I loved the plot in this one. It was unique & the events flowed easily. The characters were great too & I cant wait to discover more about Whit & Katie. The ending was a bit rushed but there was a major suspenseful moment at the end that almost made up for it - almost! Overall, I liked this book & hope its the first of many in a well laid out series. Thank you, NetGalley, Crooked Lane Books & Jennifer Greer for an arc!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kirsty Noah-whitlock

    Review for 'A Desperate Place' by Jennifer Greer Read and reviewed via NetGalley for Crooked Lane Books This is the first book that I have read by this author and it is actually her first and only book at the moment. It is the first book in the 'McKenna and Riggs' series. You can preorder this book on Amazon now ready for release on 11th August 2020. I was originally drawn to this book by its intriguing blurb. I am also a massive Tess Gerritsen fan and when I read that is is "Perfect for fans of Te Review for 'A Desperate Place' by Jennifer Greer Read and reviewed via NetGalley for Crooked Lane Books This is the first book that I have read by this author and it is actually her first and only book at the moment. It is the first book in the 'McKenna and Riggs' series. You can preorder this book on Amazon now ready for release on 11th August 2020. I was originally drawn to this book by its intriguing blurb. I am also a massive Tess Gerritsen fan and when I read that is is "Perfect for fans of Tess Gerritsen's Rizzoli & Isles" I just had to give it a go! I have also read several books published by Crooked Lane that I have enjoyed so was hoping this would be one added to that list (written before I read the book). Well after reading this book I must say it certainly didn't disappoint! This novel consists of 36 chapters and an epilogue of medium length. The story is presented from the points of view of medical examiner detective Katie Riggs and journalist Whit Mckenna and is set in Oregon. I loved that you get to see what is going on from both a detective and journalistic point of view as it is normally one or the other due to strained relationships. between both sides. It ensures that you get a complete picture of what is going on. Well I must say what an explosive start to what promises to be an exciting new series that I am excited to read more of! The plot jumped straight into the action and immediately gripped my attention and continued to do so straight through until the nail biting, heart racing and unpredictable ending!! I love the fact that I thought I knew what was going on just to have a massive unexpected twist thrown in. Well done! There's nothing worse than working out what's going on when your less than half way through a crime novel! I loved the characters and especially the fact that there were 2 really strong female leading characters. I definitely agree that fans of Rizzoli and Isles will love this!! There's more and more books coming out with strong female leads but not many that have two and it was pulled off really well. I must say all the characters in this novel were all very strong and realistic. I especially enjoyed Dr. Weldon's twisted sense of humour!! I really enjoyed the friendship between Katie and Whit and again how procedures are followed shines through with their career "clashes". I believe that Jennifer Greer did quite alot of research into police procedures as well as medical research and it really shines through! Although quite grotesque I was intrigued with the teratoma tumours as I have never heard of them and I did a bit of research myself. Learn something new every day! Thank you for teaching me something new! I, personally, think that the plot has a very unique storyline which is an excellent achievement for an authors first novel, congratulations! I believe this book will be a fantastic success. This novel is very well written with events all flowing together perfectly and descriptions that really put you in the plot next to the characters. Filled with suspense, drama, murder, friendships, crime, action this is an excellent thriller that I highly recommend to fans of all the above as well as Tess Gerritsen, psychological thrillers and police procedurals. Overall an explosive start to what promises to be an exciting new series. Very well written, excellent characters and a massive congratulations to Jennifer Greer for an A*** first novel. I'm looking forward to reading more of your books!!! Genres include crime, mystery, thriller, police procedural, action, drama, fiction and suspense. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good book, fans of Tess Gerritsen, murder, mystery, crime, suspense, thrillers, police procedurals, drama and action! Basically, everyone! ยฃ10.36 to preorder on kindle via Amazon. Rated 5/5 ( I LOVED IT) on Goodreads, Instagram, Amazon UK and Amazon US and on over 30 Facebook pages plus my blog on Facebook. Feel free to add me on Goodreads for more reviews #ADesperatePlace #JenniferGreer #CrookedLaneBooks #NetGalley #BookReview @JenniferGreer @CrookedLaneBooks @Bookworm1986 https://m.facebook.com/Bookworm1986/?...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Joyce

    3 and 1 / 2 stars Two very different women are very good friends in this book. News reporter Whit McKenna teams up with her friend medical examiner detective Katie Riggs to investigate the death of a well known actress. Both women are recovering from life threatening and harrowing experiences. Niki Francis' body is found in a shallow grave near Medford, Oregon partially eaten by a bear. Who would want to kill the popular actress? Was it a case of a celebrity stalker? The surfacing of more bodies 3 and 1 / 2 stars Two very different women are very good friends in this book. News reporter Whit McKenna teams up with her friend medical examiner detective Katie Riggs to investigate the death of a well known actress. Both women are recovering from life threatening and harrowing experiences. Niki Francis' body is found in a shallow grave near Medford, Oregon partially eaten by a bear. Who would want to kill the popular actress? Was it a case of a celebrity stalker? The surfacing of more bodies puts paid to that theory. This is a very slow moving story. I kept stopping and going back to it. The writing was very well done and the book was easy to read. I had problems with the pacing though. I kept wanting the action to hurry up and get to it. I like that the novel starred two women who overcame adversity to carry on their lives successfully. I want to thank NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for forwarding to me a copy of this fairly good book for me to read, enjoy and review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rach

    Our two main characters are Whit McKenna who was a journalist for the LA Times but left after her husband died (her husband died while both on a assignment together) and now works for the local paper Medford. Katie Riggs who is a medical examiner who was a police officer and has just recently had cancer. The case starts off with a famous actress Niki who is found dead in the woods after being reported missing. Then a couple of other deaths come after the death of Niki which appear to be under th Our two main characters are Whit McKenna who was a journalist for the LA Times but left after her husband died (her husband died while both on a assignment together) and now works for the local paper Medford. Katie Riggs who is a medical examiner who was a police officer and has just recently had cancer. The case starts off with a famous actress Niki who is found dead in the woods after being reported missing. Then a couple of other deaths come after the death of Niki which appear to be under the same circumstances. I liked the friendship between Whit and Katie who both have had trauma in their life and bonded through this and they both help each other in their jobs with information without over crossing the line. Both characters are strong people and don't give. The actual was interesting which involved medical and scientific side of crime and life. Overall the book was a enjoyable read but i wasn't hooked right through the book. My rating is 3.5 I received a ARC from Netgalley and Crooked Lane Books for an objection review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Martin

    This story introduces a new detective duo. Whit McKenna has come to Medford, Oregon with her two teenage daughters after the death of her husband. She was a reporter and he was her photographer in Kabul when they were kidnapped by Taliban terrorists. Taken into the mountains, they got a chance to run but her husband John was shot and killed by the terrorists. Whit escaped with the help of a Special Forces team training in the area but she was left with PTSD and a terror of forests. Katie Riggs i This story introduces a new detective duo. Whit McKenna has come to Medford, Oregon with her two teenage daughters after the death of her husband. She was a reporter and he was her photographer in Kabul when they were kidnapped by Taliban terrorists. Taken into the mountains, they got a chance to run but her husband John was shot and killed by the terrorists. Whit escaped with the help of a Special Forces team training in the area but she was left with PTSD and a terror of forests. Katie Riggs is a police detective who switched to being a medical examiner after a bout with melanoma. The two women met at a local book club and bonded. They frequently meet for coffee or a drink and they are running partners. Katie encouraged Whit to get back into journalism even though cops and journalists often have contentious relationships. Both of them are looking at a crime but from different viewpoints when the body of famous actress Niki Francis is found buried in a shallow grave. While Whit goes looking for witnesses that she can quote for her story, Katie gets involved in the autopsy where it is discovered that Niki had a teratoma growing on her spine. Teratomas are relatively rare and were just a matter of interest but not necessarily relevant to her investigation. Then there is a house fire and Whit happens to be there to see the body of the homeowner. She interviews a neighbor who gives her some insight into the lawyer who died. He seems to have been going through some kind of mid-life crisis causing him to leave his wife and take up with a young Czech woman. Whit is approached by the man's wife who is sure that her husband was murdered and she begs Whit to investigate. Then there is a third victim when a lawyer who is found in her pool and is suspected of drowning. But both lawyers have teratomas too. I enjoyed this story which was an entertaining medical sort of mystery. I liked the personalities of the two main characters and liked that both of them had a lot of depth to their stories. I would be eager to read more about this pair of sleuths.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    In Southern Oregon, Whit McKenna works for the local newspaper, the Medford Daily Chronicle. She has 20 years of reporting experience, most as a prized reporter with the LA Times. However, she's spent eight months recovering from post traumatic stress of seeing her husband killed right in front of her in Afghanistan. She's moved her two daughters to a quieter environment. Whit's best friend in Medford is Katie Riggs, medical examiner detective. Katie underwent chemotherapy a year ago for stage 2 In Southern Oregon, Whit McKenna works for the local newspaper, the Medford Daily Chronicle. She has 20 years of reporting experience, most as a prized reporter with the LA Times. However, she's spent eight months recovering from post traumatic stress of seeing her husband killed right in front of her in Afghanistan. She's moved her two daughters to a quieter environment. Whit's best friend in Medford is Katie Riggs, medical examiner detective. Katie underwent chemotherapy a year ago for stage 2 melanoma. She's a former police detective. An investigation begins when a body that had been buried is dug up by a bear. Turns out to be a local famous actress. Detective Panetta, former military and FBI, leads the local investigation. I learned a lot about monster tumors and teratomes. I first thought this was a fictionalized idea for the story until I googled it. These tumors are real. The author has done her research on stem cell treatments also. The author has created some interesting characters. Readers learn about their very real problems and shows them overcoming adversity. This novel is the author's debut -- easy to read, good character development, good mystery, and builds up to an action packed ending.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    When it is snowy and cold outside, superspeed readers like me can read 250+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book โ€ฆ and many more today. LOL I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do ๐Ÿ˜ธ. Perfect for fans of Tess Gerritsen's Rizzoli & Isles and Kathy Reic When it is snowy and cold outside, superspeed readers like me can read 250+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book โ€ฆ and many more today. LOL I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do ๐Ÿ˜ธ. Perfect for fans of Tess Gerritsen's Rizzoli & Isles and Kathy Reichs, comes an explosive debut thriller about a team of two strong women and a crime that will shake you to your core. Three separate homicides. Three unrelated victims. One grisly secret. When the body of famous actress Niki Francis is unearthed from its shallow grave, the small town of Medford, Oregon is alarmed, but not shook. After all, there should be plenty of motives and suspects--Niki had fame, wealth, looks. The kill was targeted, premeditated, and it's about her celebrity. Or so they thought. Whit McKenna is licking her wounds, working as a reporter for the local Medford rag. Fresh from a harrowing assignment for her previous post at the L. A. Times which cost her her husband, Whit must pull herself together for the sake of her two daughters. The wound has hardly begun to scab when she's called to cover the murder, so she teams up with her best friend, medical examiner Katie Riggs. Then two more victims turn up, completely disconnected from one another, and McKenna loses all hope of a breakthrough. Rather than clarity, the possible suspects and motives become scrambled. But time is running out, and each front-page article McKenna writes brings her closer to a killer who will stop at nothing to realize a deadly vision. Although this a great crime novel, it is slow reading.. The story was well written, per se, but it just needed to move along faster and be a bit, perhaps, less gory. The duo of crime fighters makes for a promising series of books, the author just needs to speed up the storyline so it gets five stars instead of four- the novel had so much promise. To me, this was more of a promising TVshow than a series of novels. As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I love emojis (outside of their incessant use by "๐Ÿ™-ed Social Influencer Millennials/#BachelorNation survivors/Tik-Tok and YouTube Millionaires/etc. " on Instagram and Twitter... Get a real job, people!) so let's give it ๐Ÿ”ช๐Ÿ”ช๐Ÿ”ช๐Ÿ”ช

  9. 4 out of 5

    Roxanne Spencer

    This is the first in what I hope is a continuing series about a crime reporter (Whit McKenna) and a ME detective (Katie Riggs). An unlikely pair--Whit is widowed, and has retreated to Oregon with her daughters to recover after losing her husband after a joint assignment in Afghanistan, Katie is recovering from cancer--the two trade small favors as they independently investigate a series of murders that occur among the area's elite. The premise that underlies the murders is unique and I can't say This is the first in what I hope is a continuing series about a crime reporter (Whit McKenna) and a ME detective (Katie Riggs). An unlikely pair--Whit is widowed, and has retreated to Oregon with her daughters to recover after losing her husband after a joint assignment in Afghanistan, Katie is recovering from cancer--the two trade small favors as they independently investigate a series of murders that occur among the area's elite. The premise that underlies the murders is unique and I can't say that I've seen it before, and was enough to keep me guessing until the end. Whit and Katie are a fresh new pairing and I hope to see them again soon. I received a digital ARC via NetGalley.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tonstant Weader

    A Desperate Place is a mystery that takes place in Medford, Oregon. I had to read it for that reason. And then to make it better, it features a crime-solving duo. McKenna and Riggs are a reporter and a pathologist who collaborate and share information in order to advance their separate investigations. This is not exactly a Rizzoli & Isles kind of collaboration because theyโ€™re working under ethical guidelines that preclude complete sharing of information. McKenna is covering a fire where a man die A Desperate Place is a mystery that takes place in Medford, Oregon. I had to read it for that reason. And then to make it better, it features a crime-solving duo. McKenna and Riggs are a reporter and a pathologist who collaborate and share information in order to advance their separate investigations. This is not exactly a Rizzoli & Isles kind of collaboration because theyโ€™re working under ethical guidelines that preclude complete sharing of information. McKenna is covering a fire where a man died, perhaps by suicide, when sheโ€™s called way to another story. A body has been found in the woods, thanks in part to a bear. When the woman is autopsied, a stranger monstrous tumor is found. Even stranger, the same thing is found in the man who died in the fire. I enjoyed A Desperate Place even though the solution seemed obvious long before our investigators got to it. McKenna is too reckless and well before the end, she was saved by a colleague ignoring her orders. I also did not get a real sense of place. It felt as though some of the setting came from research rather than experience.Still, the writing is fast-paced and the plot is original A Desperate Place will be released August 11th. I received an e-galley from the publisher through NetGalley. A Desperate Place at Crooked Lane Books | Penguin Random House Jennifer Greer https://tonstantweaderreviews.wordpre...

  11. 5 out of 5

    Donna Hines

    Desperate people do desperate things when driven by motive! As a criminal justice major in by grad level I absolutely enjoyed this new novel by Jennifer Greer for many reasons. She gets right to the heart of these three mysterious cases with a similar medical connection and it's like a cancer is festering both literally and figuratively. I can't disclose too much but suffice to say it's an edge of your seat ride in which you're hanging on to every word, every medical examiner's diagnosis, and every Desperate people do desperate things when driven by motive! As a criminal justice major in by grad level I absolutely enjoyed this new novel by Jennifer Greer for many reasons. She gets right to the heart of these three mysterious cases with a similar medical connection and it's like a cancer is festering both literally and figuratively. I can't disclose too much but suffice to say it's an edge of your seat ride in which you're hanging on to every word, every medical examiner's diagnosis, and every clue that stumbles haphazardly before your very eyes. I've known many situations in which people are diagnosed with similar issues and concerns but this was quite fascinating and clearly the author did her research as it was credible and believable. Could all these mysterious deaths be connected? Do we have a serial killer on our hands? Could there be more to this story than meets the eye...sorry for the pun but YESSSSSSS! Oh, baby hang on tight --this was full steam ahead!

  12. 4 out of 5

    D.K. Hundt

    4.5/5.0 Stars โ€™Three separate homicides. Three unrelated victims. One grisly secret.โ€™ A DESPERATE PLACE is Jennifer Greerโ€™s debut thriller novel, and I Loved It! If youโ€™re a huge fan, like me, of Tess Gerritsen books, specifically her RIZZOLI & ISLES series, then I think you will enjoy this book as much as I did. The pacing is perfect; the tension palpable; and that endingโ€”My Heart! I can't wait for more books by Greer! Thank You, NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books, for loaning me an eGalley of A DE 4.5/5.0 Stars โ€™Three separate homicides. Three unrelated victims. One grisly secret.โ€™ A DESPERATE PLACE is Jennifer Greerโ€™s debut thriller novel, and I Loved It! If youโ€™re a huge fan, like me, of Tess Gerritsen books, specifically her RIZZOLI & ISLES series, then I think you will enjoy this book as much as I did. The pacing is perfect; the tension palpable; and that endingโ€”My Heart! I can't wait for more books by Greer! Thank You, NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books, for loaning me an eGalley of A DESPERATE PLACE in exchange for an honest review. Released โ€“ 11 August 2020 Crime Thriller

  13. 4 out of 5

    Shalini

    Three murders and a journalist investigating it - this was a fast paced investigative thriller where the subplots were complex enough to keep me interested in most of the book. Some parts felt a bit abrupt. Nonetheless, being a medical thriller, the writing kept me interested in the plot. overall, a fun read

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn Garner

    A fast paced thriller with a futuristic story line. A good partnership looks to be shaping up between the reporter and the medical detective.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mandy McHugh

    My TBR has been stacked lately, and A Desperate Place came at an excellent time. I was in the mood for both a medical and a legal thriller, and Jennifer Greer's work hit all the points. Whit, a former war correspondent and current local news reporter, is still recovering from the death of her husband in Afghanistan where they were working an unfortunately captured. She finds herself in the midst of a series of murders that are seemingly unrelated--or definitely murders, for that matter--until Ri My TBR has been stacked lately, and A Desperate Place came at an excellent time. I was in the mood for both a medical and a legal thriller, and Jennifer Greer's work hit all the points. Whit, a former war correspondent and current local news reporter, is still recovering from the death of her husband in Afghanistan where they were working an unfortunately captured. She finds herself in the midst of a series of murders that are seemingly unrelated--or definitely murders, for that matter--until Riggs, the detective Medical Examiner, helps her find a link: each victim had a rare, but interesting tumor: a tetratoma, a monster tumor, that is directly related to embryonic stem cell therapy. Alternating between the legal investigation and Whit's story-chasing, we're given a fast-paced look at what happens behind the scenes from both angles. They have to find the killer before he strikes again, but how can you find a killer who's targeting high-profile clients with very little outward connections? Character development goes a long way in this book, especially considering the attention-grabbing conflict our MCs are faced with. Whit's flashbacks to her time in Afghanistan, to the painful, horrific moment in which she loses her husband, are extremely well done, and Greer does well breathing life into the tragedy. Riggs' battle with cancer and her subsequent connection to the victims also rang true, and I loved how well-rounded they were. I also appreciated the pacing and structure of this book. The chapters read quickly, the plot wasn't dense, and I thoroughly enjoyed how the story unfolded. It's a true talent to keep the reader guessing at the mystery until the very end, and Greer did a great job creating doubt and debunking suspicions. The banter/conversational parts were lovely. For my taste, though, I found some of the dialogue to be a little stinted. Characters had a tendency to speak in largely uninterrupted chunks, sometimes bordering monologue-tone. At times, there were strings of platitudes in a row, offering general, philosophical observations about life, hardship, love, tragedy, grief, etc. Those interactions took me out of the story, a bit, and I found myself less than interested in these parts. While incredibly interesting, I found the dialogue with medical professionals more of a verbatim dictionary read than a realistic conversational structure, and I wanted it to feel a little less forced. However, the information is fascinating, and I loved getting deeper knowledge about autopsy procedures, stem cell collection, and medical license practices. The details elevated the urgency and made for some visceral imagery. Overall, A Desperate Place is a wonderful, fast-paced read with solid characterization and interesting insight into reporting, medical procedures, and legal action. I'd recommend this to anyone looking for a dishy thriller with real-world grit. Thank you to Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for review consideration.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Althea Mason (21st Century Reviews)

    This is Jennifer Greer's first and only book and at first I wasn't quite sure what I was going to think about it but it turned out to be really great. I am hoping for more McKenna and Riggs. The book takes place in Medford, Oregon, which I have actually visited once. I didn't go into the woods, which is where the first body is found though. Even though the book takes place in Medford, the story itself doesn't focus too much on it's location and is not that descriptive as far as location goes. It i This is Jennifer Greer's first and only book and at first I wasn't quite sure what I was going to think about it but it turned out to be really great. I am hoping for more McKenna and Riggs. The book takes place in Medford, Oregon, which I have actually visited once. I didn't go into the woods, which is where the first body is found though. Even though the book takes place in Medford, the story itself doesn't focus too much on it's location and is not that descriptive as far as location goes. It is however, quite descriptive when it comes to the murder victims and suspects. It is very descriptive when it comes to the "grisly secret" of the story, which makes it so that you could actually visualize it in your head as Jennifer Greer is talking about the secret. Jennifer Greer did her research when it comes to her story and providing accurate information, which makes sense since she was a journalist. I actually wonder if McKenna is based off her a little bit given that McKenna is a journalist as well. I appreciated the research she did in providing accurate information to base her story on including providing descriptions of the medical terminology in a way that everyone should be able to understand. For example, McKenna suffers from PTSD after the death of her husband and it is clear that she still experiences symptoms of PTSD throughout the book (i.e. flashbacks, fear of forests/woods, etc.). The story is fast paced and easy to follow. There are three victims and each victims story is easy to follow and not confusing. It is easy to keep track of which victim they are discussing. Jennifer Greer does a great job in her character development as well. Jennifer Greer adds a great twist towards the end of the book that had me gasping and saying "no, no, no". She also does a wonderful job at making it so that it is difficult to guess who the killer is. I am often times able to gather some sort of guess on who the killer is, but I was not able to do that in this book and I liked that. It kept me guessing. Rating: 5 out of 5. I absolutely loved this book. There was not one thing that I did not like about it. As previously mentioned, it is fast paced, keeps you guessing until the end, not easy to figure out who the killer is. I am hoping that Jennifer Greer turns McKenna and Riggs into a series. Thank you Netgalley and Crooked Lane Books for the ARC. Checkout my other reviews on 21stcenturyreviews.com

  17. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    Originally published on my blog: Nonstop Reader. A Desperate Place is the first book in a new modern mystery series by Jennifer Greer. Released 11th Aug 2020 by Crooked Lane Books, it's 311 pages (print version) and available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats. t's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. This is a modern murder mystery set in the Pacifi Originally published on my blog: Nonstop Reader. A Desperate Place is the first book in a new modern mystery series by Jennifer Greer. Released 11th Aug 2020 by Crooked Lane Books, it's 311 pages (print version) and available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats. t's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. This is a modern murder mystery set in the Pacific northwest with an investigative duo of journalist and police detective with the medical examiner's office. They collaborate while investigating a string of local murders staged to look like accidents. The common thread between the victims is the basis for this medical thriller/mystery. The writing is competent but the pacing was glacial for much of the book. Probably 20% of the book was flashback descriptions of McKenna's traumatic experiences as an investigative journalist in Afghanistan. She is also preternaturally lucky in her present day assignment, since she gets instant access and full honest disclosure from almost everyone she interviews (starting with 2 young boys who were important eyewitnesses and tell her everything immediately). The medical parts of the story made me roll my eyes on numerous occasions. (Trust me, medical professionals are too busy to give the Dr. Mengele-worthy performance of the head psycho-bad-guy in this book). The denouement was way over the top and felt tacked on rather than a natural progression of the story arc. Negatives aside, this is a fairly well written medical murder mystery. Fans of crime fiction who like strong female characters will find a lot to like here. This is a strong series start from a debut writer, and judged on that basis, is worth a look. Three stars. Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Susanne

    Thank you to the author, Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Normally, I would be raving about this book - a friendship between two strong women, approaching a crime from two different perspectives (law enforcement and journalism), and said two characters treading a fine line between friendship and overstepping their professional boundaries using their friendship. The story was interesting, the crime certainly had a timely hook, and working through the pl Thank you to the author, Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Normally, I would be raving about this book - a friendship between two strong women, approaching a crime from two different perspectives (law enforcement and journalism), and said two characters treading a fine line between friendship and overstepping their professional boundaries using their friendship. The story was interesting, the crime certainly had a timely hook, and working through the plotline from the two different aspects was well done. But - and of course there's a but: Ironically for a story centering on someone who uses words to make their living, there are a *massive* amount of spelling and punctuation errors. Not talking about nitpicky little things, but things like "they're" for "there" etc. The backstory of both of the main characters was referenced so frequently that I started thinking this was the second or third book in a series. It's not, it's the first. The pacing was difficult, very slow and then very fast, and the ending was a bit cheesy in the manner of a horror movie ("Oh God, no, don't go in there alone..."). I would love to read any further books, should this pan out into a series.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lavins

    The book had a promising start and it was pretty decent up to half way when things started to slide sideways and fast. ** Spoilers ahead! ** I am not a big fan of reporters in general and this lady was a journalist for a smaller newspaper. She is reporting on the death of a celebrity and she is acting as if she is on a mission, like a dog with a bone, nothing can stop her and everything goes in her favour. So we figure out pretty fast that we have a series of a murders (made to look like accidenta The book had a promising start and it was pretty decent up to half way when things started to slide sideways and fast. ** Spoilers ahead! ** I am not a big fan of reporters in general and this lady was a journalist for a smaller newspaper. She is reporting on the death of a celebrity and she is acting as if she is on a mission, like a dog with a bone, nothing can stop her and everything goes in her favour. So we figure out pretty fast that we have a series of a murders (made to look like accidental deaths) that were trying to cover up some experiments going bad. But here is where the stars start to drop. First of all in this day and age, do you know any celebrity that gladly empties their soul to an unknown person in a bar? hahahaa....yeah, exactly. So we have a report is smarter and successfully succeeds to figure out not only everything that the police discovers, but also faster than they. Starting with interviewing key witnesses that are gladly telling their story to her. And to top it all up, she know and informs the police who the next victim will be. Did I mention that the police was having special agents investigating, former FBI, but hey no one compares to our smart reporter. I'll stop here...there's more but not worth mentioning.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Wendy Holley

    A Desperate Place is a compelling page turner that from the first scene will hook the reader and not let them go. Set in Southern Oregon, the author captures the sense of place in a small city surrounded by beauty but plagued by secrets. I commend Ms. Greer for the time and dedication she obviously invested in criminal procedure and medical diagnosis. She tackles what can be a controversial issue with honesty and grit. Never preaching or taking a stand, but making the reader stop and consider. Bot A Desperate Place is a compelling page turner that from the first scene will hook the reader and not let them go. Set in Southern Oregon, the author captures the sense of place in a small city surrounded by beauty but plagued by secrets. I commend Ms. Greer for the time and dedication she obviously invested in criminal procedure and medical diagnosis. She tackles what can be a controversial issue with honesty and grit. Never preaching or taking a stand, but making the reader stop and consider. Both McKenna and Rigs are strong women with fortitude and sympathy. These women face trials with courage as they try to move on with their lives and find some sense of normal after tragedy. Ms. Greerโ€™s characters are engaging. Even the villain is evil with a motive and a cause. There are no cardboard single dimension characters in this story. Just when you think the evil is over and the bad guy is caught, Ms. Greer sends you a surprise. Youโ€™ll be cringing and holding your breath to the end. I was provided a copy of this book from Net Galley and Crooked Lane Books in exchange for an honest review.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen Gray

    A nice start to a new series featuring two women from different paths who come together to cope with their back stories and solve crimes. That's a headline. This is the tale of Whit, whose husband was killed by the Taliban while they were working there as a team. She's got PTSD and two teenage daughters and she's been out of the journalism business for a while. Then, by chance, she meets Katie, a former police officer turned medical examine who has had cancer. Katie persuades Whit to start repor A nice start to a new series featuring two women from different paths who come together to cope with their back stories and solve crimes. That's a headline. This is the tale of Whit, whose husband was killed by the Taliban while they were working there as a team. She's got PTSD and two teenage daughters and she's been out of the journalism business for a while. Then, by chance, she meets Katie, a former police officer turned medical examine who has had cancer. Katie persuades Whit to start reporting again- hanging it on the discovery of the corpse of Nikki, an actress with lots of enemies and, of all things, a teratoma. You'll learn a bit about a rare tumor - because more bodies of murdered people who have them begin to turn up. These two will figure out not only who but why. They make a good pair (and it's not fair to compare this to Rizzoli and Isles- they stand on their own). Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. It's a good read and I'm looking forward to another installment.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy Stewart

    ๐Ÿ“š๐˜ฝ๐™ค๐™ค๐™  ๐™๐™š๐™ซ๐™ž๐™š๐™ฌ๐Ÿ“š ๐“๐ข๐ญ๐ฅ๐ž: ๐ด ๐ท๐‘’๐‘ ๐‘๐‘’๐‘Ÿ๐‘Ž๐‘ก๐‘’ ๐‘ƒ๐‘™๐‘Ž๐‘๐‘’ ๐€๐ฎ๐ญ๐ก๐จ๐ซ: ๐ฝ๐‘’๐‘›๐‘›๐‘–๐‘“๐‘’๐‘Ÿ ๐บ๐‘Ÿ๐‘’๐‘’๐‘Ÿ ๐๐ฎ๐ฆ๐›๐ž๐ซ ๐Ž๐Ÿ ๐๐š๐ ๐ž๐ฌ: 311 ๐†๐ž๐ง๐ซ๐ž: ๐‘ƒ๐‘ ๐‘ฆ๐‘โ„Ž๐‘œ๐‘™๐‘œ๐‘”๐‘–๐‘๐‘Ž๐‘™ ๐‘‡โ„Ž๐‘Ÿ๐‘–๐‘™๐‘™๐‘’๐‘Ÿ ๐๐ฎ๐›๐ฅ๐ข๐œ๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง ๐ƒ๐š๐ญ๐ž: 08/11/2020 ๐‘๐š๐ญ๐ข๐ง๐ : ๐Ÿ“•๐Ÿ“•๐Ÿ“•๐Ÿ“• (4 stars) โ€ข This is the author's debut novel. Thank you Crooked Lane books for sending me a copy to read and review. This book has a stunning cover. โ€ข ๐Œ๐ฒ ๐“๐ก๐จ๐ฎ๐ ๐ก๐ญ๐ฌ: In this book we follow a famous actress whose body was unearthed from a shallow grave. Walt Mckenna and medical examiner Katie Riggs think they know what's happening when two more victims tur ๐Ÿ“š๐˜ฝ๐™ค๐™ค๐™  ๐™๐™š๐™ซ๐™ž๐™š๐™ฌ๐Ÿ“š ๐“๐ข๐ญ๐ฅ๐ž: ๐ด ๐ท๐‘’๐‘ ๐‘๐‘’๐‘Ÿ๐‘Ž๐‘ก๐‘’ ๐‘ƒ๐‘™๐‘Ž๐‘๐‘’ ๐€๐ฎ๐ญ๐ก๐จ๐ซ: ๐ฝ๐‘’๐‘›๐‘›๐‘–๐‘“๐‘’๐‘Ÿ ๐บ๐‘Ÿ๐‘’๐‘’๐‘Ÿ ๐๐ฎ๐ฆ๐›๐ž๐ซ ๐Ž๐Ÿ ๐๐š๐ ๐ž๐ฌ: 311 ๐†๐ž๐ง๐ซ๐ž: ๐‘ƒ๐‘ ๐‘ฆ๐‘โ„Ž๐‘œ๐‘™๐‘œ๐‘”๐‘–๐‘๐‘Ž๐‘™ ๐‘‡โ„Ž๐‘Ÿ๐‘–๐‘™๐‘™๐‘’๐‘Ÿ ๐๐ฎ๐›๐ฅ๐ข๐œ๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง ๐ƒ๐š๐ญ๐ž: 08/11/2020 ๐‘๐š๐ญ๐ข๐ง๐ : ๐Ÿ“•๐Ÿ“•๐Ÿ“•๐Ÿ“• (4 stars) โ€ข This is the author's debut novel. Thank you Crooked Lane books for sending me a copy to read and review. This book has a stunning cover. โ€ข ๐Œ๐ฒ ๐“๐ก๐จ๐ฎ๐ ๐ก๐ญ๐ฌ: In this book we follow a famous actress whose body was unearthed from a shallow grave. Walt Mckenna and medical examiner Katie Riggs think they know what's happening when two more victims turn up unconnected to the first crime. I had a blast reading this book. I felt the pacing of this story was great. I was able to figure out some of the things that occurred, but thoroughly enjoyed it. Jennifer Greer is a new face in the thriller genre with a unique writing style which is refreshing. Her character development made this story a joy to read. She had me hooked from the start, and I had this book read in just a couple of days. If you are a fan of thrillers and are looking for a new author to read, be sure to pick up a copy of A Desperate Place today!!!!!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Grow

    When Whit McKenna, investigative reporter, realizes that a man was in the house that caught fire, she had no idea that his death would be a murder and would lead her to the case of her life. When the body of a local celebrity and actress is found in a shallow grave, her autopsy will have chilling similarities to the manโ€™s autopsy. As Whit digs deeper in to the first manโ€™s death, for his wife, she realizes that she is putting her life on the line. She gets closer to finding the killer, with help When Whit McKenna, investigative reporter, realizes that a man was in the house that caught fire, she had no idea that his death would be a murder and would lead her to the case of her life. When the body of a local celebrity and actress is found in a shallow grave, her autopsy will have chilling similarities to the manโ€™s autopsy. As Whit digs deeper in to the first manโ€™s death, for his wife, she realizes that she is putting her life on the line. She gets closer to finding the killer, with help from her friend Katie Riggs a Detective with the Medical Examinerโ€™s Office. Whit is still dealing with the trauma and death of her husband in Afghanistan as is her two daughters. Will she be able survive her investigation and stay one step ahead of the killer? A spine-chilling medical thriller. I received an advance review copy at no cost and without obligation for an honest review. (by paytonpuppy)

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey

    What I loved most about this story was that itโ€™s centered around the lives of two boss babes who are killing it at their professions. *no pun intended* Murder is the name of the game here though. Bodies turn up left and right in this suspenseful page-turner and they all have one thing in common: a monster tumor. The teratoma concept was a fascinating addition to this whodunit. Our first leading lady is Katie Riggs, the medical examiner. Next, we have Whit McKenna, a reporter for the local paper. As What I loved most about this story was that itโ€™s centered around the lives of two boss babes who are killing it at their professions. *no pun intended* Murder is the name of the game here though. Bodies turn up left and right in this suspenseful page-turner and they all have one thing in common: a monster tumor. The teratoma concept was a fascinating addition to this whodunit. Our first leading lady is Katie Riggs, the medical examiner. Next, we have Whit McKenna, a reporter for the local paper. As with any good thriller, there are multiple suspects. Itโ€™s up to Riggs and McKenna to solve the mystery. I loved the friendship these two shared. Their lines of work are often at odds, but they find a way to work together without jeopardizing their careers or their friendship. If youโ€™re looking for a quick, suspenseful read that will keep you on your toes, read A DESPERATE PLACE. I happily give this one five stars. โ˜… โ˜… โ˜… โ˜… โ˜…

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tara Stapledon

    Whit is a crime reporter whose husband recently died while they were on assignment in Afghanistan. Her best friend Katie is an ME detective and cancer survivor. They are separately investigating several homicides among Medford's elite, trading information at times without crossing that cop vs reporter line. The commonality among the victims is unique and somewhat gruesome. I enjoyed having the perspective of the police investigation as well as a reporter's chase for a headlining story. The medic Whit is a crime reporter whose husband recently died while they were on assignment in Afghanistan. Her best friend Katie is an ME detective and cancer survivor. They are separately investigating several homicides among Medford's elite, trading information at times without crossing that cop vs reporter line. The commonality among the victims is unique and somewhat gruesome. I enjoyed having the perspective of the police investigation as well as a reporter's chase for a headlining story. The medical side was also well explained. The pace was a bit slow in spots but the plot was interesting. A good debut novel with the potential to become a very good series. Thank you Netgalley and Crooked Lane Books for this ARC

  26. 4 out of 5

    Connie

    This was certainly an intriguing book with suspenseful scenes and a plot unlike any I have every read before. The character development was strong, and I did like the main character, Whit who appeared very vulnerable and perhaps so desirous of being the reporter who gets the story first, that she puts herself in harmโ€™s way. Whitโ€™s friends and co-workers are great additions to the book, and add a lot to the story. Another thing I really liked, and Iโ€™m sure many other readers will appreciate too, i This was certainly an intriguing book with suspenseful scenes and a plot unlike any I have every read before. The character development was strong, and I did like the main character, Whit who appeared very vulnerable and perhaps so desirous of being the reporter who gets the story first, that she puts herself in harmโ€™s way. Whitโ€™s friends and co-workers are great additions to the book, and add a lot to the story. Another thing I really liked, and Iโ€™m sure many other readers will appreciate too, is that the author doesnโ€™t feel the need to throw in sex scenes. While I spotted a few curse wordsโ€”Iโ€™d prefer none,itโ€™s certainly an improvement over so many of the books on the market.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Becky Baldridge

    A Desperate Place is well written and has all the right elements to be a gripping thriller. Except one. The pacing was just too slow, at least it was for me. I liked the idea of two strong women working together to solve crime, but this one just lacked that oomph to push it over the edge into thriller territory for me. It was interesting enough while I was reading but not so much that I was compelled to keep doing so or to come back to it in any kind of hurry. All in all, it's not a bad story, b A Desperate Place is well written and has all the right elements to be a gripping thriller. Except one. The pacing was just too slow, at least it was for me. I liked the idea of two strong women working together to solve crime, but this one just lacked that oomph to push it over the edge into thriller territory for me. It was interesting enough while I was reading but not so much that I was compelled to keep doing so or to come back to it in any kind of hurry. All in all, it's not a bad story, but it's not a particularly great one either and I can't say that I would remember the story or these characters long enough to come back to the series for future books.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Soukaina Oujdad

    4 stars I'm going to start by saying that the title and the cover are absolutely not doing justice to the beautiful book. that's the only reason I took a star off my rating. When two of the prominent people Medford died in mysterious circumstances, Whit Mckenna, a reporter, is determined to find out and write about what happened. This is her first major case after watching her husband getting shot in Kabul by terrorists. She is friends with Katie Riggs, a police detective, who also had her share o 4 stars I'm going to start by saying that the title and the cover are absolutely not doing justice to the beautiful book. that's the only reason I took a star off my rating. When two of the prominent people Medford died in mysterious circumstances, Whit Mckenna, a reporter, is determined to find out and write about what happened. This is her first major case after watching her husband getting shot in Kabul by terrorists. She is friends with Katie Riggs, a police detective, who also had her share of tragic events: she is in remission from melanoma.ย  The two friends will reunite their intellect and determination to investigate the accidents when not only more people are found dead, but as it turned out, the victims seemed to have had the same type of a rare tumor called a teratoma.ย  This is a beautiful debut novel and a great opening to a series. The plot is suspenseful and fast-paced, with a lot of unexpected twists andย turns. The writing is beautiful, well-detailed, and not at all boring.ย  I think it's a common thing to the first books of a series to have plenty of characters introductions, but I think the culprit was not rightly developed before his/her arrest. I honestly forgot who she/he was. I love medical mysteries so this was a real treat to read. I really appreciated how well-researched the details are.ย  the characters are easily loveable. the backstories are interesting and colorful. I really liked the dynamic between Whit and Riggs their friendship is realistic and natural. Many thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for my ARC I highly recommend this book to crime and mystery lovers. this was a fantastic read.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Shana Shilliday

    First, thank you to Crooked Lane Books for my ACR of this book. I thought A Desperate Place was a thoroughly enjoyable read. The characters were interesting and engaging and it was a great story. I thought the pacing was setting were perfect as well. I am sometimes nervous about reading stories that have detectives and medical examiners because I feel like the dialogue can be cheesy. The author sometimes wants to prove they know the jargon and lingo! I did not see that in this book, while the dial First, thank you to Crooked Lane Books for my ACR of this book. I thought A Desperate Place was a thoroughly enjoyable read. The characters were interesting and engaging and it was a great story. I thought the pacing was setting were perfect as well. I am sometimes nervous about reading stories that have detectives and medical examiners because I feel like the dialogue can be cheesy. The author sometimes wants to prove they know the jargon and lingo! I did not see that in this book, while the dialogue was knowledgable and realistic it never turned cheesy to me. I am excited for this author to come out with more books in this series!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Lauren

    Most excellent effort for a first novel. There are interesting and complex characters, a really curious and novel reason for killing the poor victims. I liked the women and their relationships. but what I thought was poignant was the descriptions of grief and loss. It is quite clear that the author has some close experience with this. She shows an understanding of how one has to learn to live with the vast collections of our backgrounds, like it or not. I will look forward to future installments.

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