The Bottom Line: An expertly crafted romantic suspense thriller that will have your blood running cold from the get-go.
Author Saralyn Richard has created a potent heroine in Quinn McFarland, who is nearing 30 and lives alone with her Westie, Calvin. Quinn is no stranger to death. A mortician in the family mortuary, Quinn has learned to steel herself to get the job done – even if that means chewing three packs of gum to distract her mind and senses as she preps a body.
But this summer is about to test her like no other time in her life. Her brother — who has been battling diabetes and is in urgent need of a kidney — lucks out and suddenly finds a donor. The family is elated, but that means Quinn is on duty at the funeral home.
Quinn isn’t worried about handling the business on her own, but something in her neighborhood has left her feeling uneasy. Even Calvin’s canine senses are on high alert. Soon, the body of a newly delivered murder victim turns out to be her estranged best friend, Ana Renfroe.
When it comes to creating suspense, Richard leaves no angle unturned. For example, Ana’s bludgeoned body isn’t the only thing that haunts Quinn. Secrets she buried with their friendship long ago threaten to be unearthed, as Quinn begins receiving threats to stay quiet, and Ana’s parents show up at the mortuary with an ominous message that Ana left for Quinn before her death. Soon, Quinn is investigated as a person of interest, which upends life as she knew it.
Richard delivers a taut thriller that pays it off again and again. Bad Blood Sisters seems destined for the screen (and may inspire some readers to binge Six Feet Under, HBO’s much-loved cult series from the early aughts). Let’s hope Richard will consider an entire series of Quinn McFarland mortuary mysteries. One thing is for sure – readers will miss Quinn long after turning the final page.