Redwood Violet by Robin Mahle is categorized as a mystery/suspense novel that could have used more buildup of the suspense. The story revolves around Katie Reid’s quest to get to the bottom of near nightly nightmares that threaten her sanity and peace. The scenes that spell out the nightmares are masterfully written. Those lack nothing in suspense and mystery or the wee bee gee bees, as my husband call them.
The nightmares is thought by Katie to revolve around an incident from her past, a past that is buried deep in her consciousness. More in-depth focus on the efforts Katie makes to unlock the secrets would make an excellent psychological mystery series.
What helps to destroy the suspenseful buildup are the sappy love nicknames that Katie and her significant other, Spencer call each other. If the story was primarily a romance, then the handles would have fit. When Mahle dispatches Spencer, the story improved.
The introduction of the detective as one of Katie’s tools worked for me. The development of the professional relationship between Katie and the detective sharpened the focus of the story, repaired some of the damage done by the Spencer-Katie plot line. A word of caution, though. The detective leaving Katie along in a room full of evidence that could potentially be used to convict a killer of an abducted child did not have the ring of truth. Although Katie has been closely working with the detective on the case, she is not an officer, a forensic crime scene investigator or others recognized by the law to handle evidence. And, the close parallels to her own search could be argued as giving Katie a motive to manufacture or otherwise alter the evidence. A defense attorney worth his or her salt could use to suppress the evidence for violation of the chain of custody rule. Without evidence, even if he confesses, the killer could walk.