Book Review: “Open Grave” by CJ Lyons

'Open Grave' is the latest novel by CJ Lyons.Divers find an antique car, and then discover that it's hiding a terrible secret. The Beacon Group are called in to try and solve the mystery before it's too late.

Divers find an antique car, and then discover that it’s hiding a terrible secret. The Beacon Group are called in to try and solve the mystery before it’s too late.

Disclosure: I received a copy of Open Grave* for review. The opinions below are my own and unbiased.

TK O’Connor is given the chance to take the lead on an investigation for the first time. She doesn’t want to let her team down, but TK’s case just keeps getting more complex.

Meanwhile, the city is also the scene of growing racial tension as a white police officer is on trial for shooting a black man. The case threatens to expose a deep-rooted problem of racism, and the situation becomes explosive. The Beacon Group are in a race to solve the 60 year old case before it is too late.

I’m a big fan of the Beacon Falls novels, having already reviewed Last Light and Devil Smoke (click through to read my reviews!). So when I saw that CJ Lyons had written a third novel in the series, I was keen to get my hands on a copy as soon as possible.

And it didn’t disappoint in any way. The characters are familiar to me by now, but you could happily enjoy this book reading the other novels first. I was really pleased that TK O’Connor was taking the lead on this case as I think she’s a really interesting character.

But wow, this book was actually pretty tough reading in places! It’s soon obvious that TK’s cold case is more complex than it first appears. And the fact that the car has been in water for 60 years also adds an extra dimension to the case. CJ Lyons intersperses the book with flashbacks to when the events took place. I found it really hard to read those sections, knowing that there wasn’t going to be any happy resolution to that story.

The element of racial tension is handled well, and it allows CJ Lyons to flesh out her characters some more. Having them examine their thoughts on the conflict in the city makes the reader also look at their own reactions.

The tension in Open Grave builds throughout, and becomes quite explosive as the conclusion draws near. I was really happy with how CJ Lyons wraps up both the cold case and the modern day events.

If you’ve enjoyed the previous novels in this series, you are going to love Open Grave as well. And if you’re new to the Beacon Group, then I’m sure you’ll want to go back and read the other two novels after this.

The blurb:

A secret buried in an open grave returns to haunt a small town…

When divers discover an antique car with a skeleton inside, the Beacon Group dispatches TK O’Connor to investigate into the sixty-year-old cold case.

It’s TK’s first chance to lead an investigation and the former Marine is determined not to let her team down. But almost as soon as she arrives in the downtrodden rustbelt city her challenges mount.

First, there’s the issue of identifying the man inside the car. Who was he and why did he seemingly drive off a cliff?

Then, there’s the brewing racial tensions in the city. A white police officer is on trial for shooting a black man and the verdict is due any minute. When a second killing occurs the town explodes.

As protesters threaten more violence, it’s up to TK and her boss, Lucy Guardino, to untangle the truth. But will it be powerful enough to stop the violence before anyone else is killed?

The tension keeps on building in this enthralling new instalment from the Beacon Group – 8/10

Open Grave* is available in Kindle format, published by Canelo.

'Open Grave' is the latest novel by CJ Lyons.Divers find an antique car, and then discover that it's hiding a terrible secret. The Beacon Group are called in to try and solve the mystery before it's too late.

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