Digital Reads Reviews

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Bad Mother by Mia Sheridan @msheridanauthor

Digital Reads Reviews is a blog-haven for book posts and reviews. This is a review of a psychological thriller, Bad Mother.
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I liked it

Publication Date: March 2023

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When Sienna Walker is nearly fired from the NYPD, the last thing she expects is a second chance in the one place she vowed never to return to. But she can’t afford to turn down the job offer, even if a painful familial past and a broken engagement hardly make Reno, Nevada, home sweet home.

It’s made even less sweet by Sienna’s first case―a serial killer with a curious fixation on her. Along with his victims, the killer leaves perplexing clues and chilling journal entries addressed to Sienna detailing the murders he claims his mother committed. The case continues to get personal when her ex-fiancé is called out by the killer as well. Whoever’s behind the diabolical murders, Sienna can only be sure of one thing…it’s someone close to home.

As the twisted truth forces Sienna to face her complicated feelings, she learns that no matter how far you run from your past, it always catches up to you in the end.

What was it all about

Bad Mother by author Mia Sheridan was a psychological crime thriller that was surprisingly so good. This author was known for her romance, so when I got the opportunity to get my hands on this book, I was thrilled. 

Most romance authors, when they switched genres, made quite a hotch-potch of things, but I had to say that Mia wrote quite an intelligent book with a serial killer in focus, who sent great clues, well hidden in his kills, to Detectives Sienna and Kat. 

A standalone, this book laid down quite a high bar. I liked that this book was a great combination of police procedural without being too technical about it. There was romance interweaved for Sienna when she met up with her past, Gavin. 

For me, the best part was the spotlight remained on the intelligence of the serial killer. And it was not at all gruesome. So I could stomach this read when I was down with a severe viral illness. 

A short summary

Sienna had been transferred to Reno, Nevada PD due to her not following orders in her earlier department. And she started her new job with a bang – the murder of an elderly woman. 

The killer left some intelligent crumbs for Sienna to follow along with hidden journal entries. A few chapters down the line, it was obvious that most of them were left for Sienna to follow until she realized that she was linked to the killer in ways most unexpected. 

The Hook

Trigger Warnings: domestic violence, physical abuse, semi-graphic child abuse

The triggers were not very blatant so it was easy to read the book even on my mentally weak days. I liked how the clues kept pulling my interest deeper into the book. 

Most crime thrillers had some good clues, but this had really intelligent ones where it was obvious that the author had spent time researching the best possible ways to hide the messages from the killer. 

I was quite enamored with the author’s brain for having thought of the periodic table. And don’t worry, this was not a spoiler alert, just a teaser to show you how the author planned her murder board.  

The Characters

The book didn’t concentrate heavily on romance and kept the plot tightly wound around the crime investigation. I was quite immersed in the minds of the cops who worked hard, especially Sienna, to the point of becoming ill to get to the killer ASAP. 

Determination and dog-mindedness were the twin cores of Sienna’s character build-up, with a few entwining of nostalgia and past love. I enjoyed how she went about joining all the pieces together while trying to step into the minefield of past emotions.

Gavin, her love interest, was good when he acted as an independent consultant for the case. Overall, it was quite satisfying to see them developing down the pages. 

The Intricacies

I loved the plot line of this book and found it quite intriguing. Around three-fourths of the story, when I realized that no other new characters were going to be introduced any further, I started piecing up the different parts. 

And I was glad I came to the right conclusion. 

The author was quite cunning in keeping the various subplots well-connected. I kept imagining that she must have had an elaborate murder board with the threads running right across the various victims and the clues to keep all of them on track. 

I seemed to be at risk of repeating myself continually, but the subplots were so intelligent. The clues were so nicely hidden that I couldn’t see them with my naked eyes until the story pointed them directly to me. 

With so many psychological thrillers released every month, I found this book to be at a higher level than the other authors who regularly wrote this genre. I would say Mia had done a fantastic job at keeping me gripped to the book. 

White knuckled I was right through till the end, where there were a couple of scenes from the escape room puzzles. And no, I was too slow in solving any of them. The characters could keep thinking even when their lives were at stake. 

The Setting

For the scenes that were written, I would say the book needed a slightly darker atmosphere. But being not well, I liked how the story maintained its suspenseful setting without going overboard. I knew it sounded contrary, but that was what it was.

The Pace

For me, the book kept a good pace in the various scenes. Only toward the end when the main characters had to fight their way out of the locked room did I find my concentration wandering. But that could be because I was not well. 

Overall, I think I read this story taking breaks over 24 hours. 

The style of writing - The Prose

Writing a crime thriller while keeping all the clues in mind was not every romance author’s cup of tea. But Mia Sheridan did it beautifully. And in spades.

Having not read her romance books, I was analyzing her writing in this psych thriller, I thought she did a commendable job. 

The words used felt apt for the story, and with more books in this genre under her belt, I felt her writing had the potential to be one of the best where the suspense would rise every few pages. 

How it made me feel

I enjoyed the book thoroughly, though I guessed a couple of minor subplots. But the clues were still not easily guessable and had to be worked through. 

Do I recommend this book?

The book was far above all the thrillers and crime novels that I had read in recent times. So, it was safe to say, I would recommend this book. 

Had I been a writer, I hoped I would be half as intelligent as Mia Sheridan was in this book. 

I got the paperback version of the book from my friend, and this is my journey down its pages, straight from the heart. STRICTLY HONEST and UNBIASED.

If you’ve loved the review, buy me a cuppa to perk me up.

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