Print Length: 352 pages
Publisher:  Love Inspired (June 28, 2022)

From Goodreads.com: When a cold-case serial killer returns, FBI special agent Fiona Kelly has one last chance to stop him before he claims the prize he’s always wanted—her.

The sight of a goose feather at a murder scene modeled after a children’s poem is enough to make FBI special agent Fiona Kelly's blood turn to ice. Almost two decades ago, a feather was left with her sister's body—and with every subsequent victim of the Nursery Rhyme Killer. Now he's back. Only this time, his latest gruesome murder is a message to the only one who ever got away: Fiona.

Finding “Rhyme” is an obsession that's fueled Fiona's career—and destroyed her marriage to fellow FBI agent Asa Kodiak. Now Fiona and Asa have to put their past tensions aside and work together one last time. But Rhyme is watching, and catching this killer may force Fiona to reveal her biggest, darkest secret…the one only he knows.'

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My Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

The opening chapters of this novel set it up to be at least a 4-star read. A teenage woman struggling to outrun her killer only to become a grown woman hunting the same man years later? YES PLEASE. 

But the more I read? The more I struggled between giving it 2 stars, and giving it 3 stars. To begin with the heavy religious influnce of this one just... killed it. Now don't get me wrong, I'm religious myself, and so I found Asa's struggles relatable. Athough in his shoes if I had to give up cursing, I don't know that I could manage. And that was one of the things about this novel that just felt off. Even when dealing with the worst of the worst, it was rare to see anyone from the team curse, which honestly? Was weird. But above any beyond that it was the constant mention of God and these characters praying to God that started the downward spiral for me.  Again. I am religious. But this felt a little too forced. 

Another GLARING problem I had with this one is while reading it I felt like I had either:

Read about these characters before (especially when Fiona describes a killer with a very specific MO that I KNOW I have read before, but when I looked I've NOT read anything else by this author, nor does this book appear to part of a series).  

OR

Had missed huge chunks of a story altogether. We are told about Asa and Fiona's marriage (or more specifically how it ended), we are told about his new relationship with Amanda and how it came about. We are told about the case they just closed, but this appears to be the only novel this author has written about these characters (if I'm wrong please let me know)! 

While I absolutely loved the concept of a killer who stages their kills as nursery rhymes (and their reasoning behind who they killed), in my opinion, the story just wasn't strong enough to pull it off in the way it could have been.

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.
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                                           Her Darkest Secret is available on Amazon.com

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