Title: All Day and a Night by Alafair Burke
Ellie Hatcher Series Book Five
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 368 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
A new murder case with ties to a convicted serial killer leads Detective Ellie Hatcher into a twisting investigation with explosive and deadly results in this superb mystery from the “terrific web spinner” (Entertainment Weekly) Alafair Burke.
When pyschotherapist Helen Brunswick is murdered in her Park Slope office, the entire city suspects her estranged husband—until the District Attorney’s office receives an anonymous letter. The letter’s author knows a chilling detail that police have kept secret: the victim’s bones were broken after she was killed. Her injuries were eerily similar to the signature used twenty years earlier by Anthony Amaro, a serial killer serving a life sentence for his crimes. Now, Amaro is asking to be released from prison, arguing that he was wrongly convicted, and that the true killer is still on the loose.
NYPD Detectives Ellie Hatcher and JJ Rogan are tapped as the “fresh look” team to reassess the original investigation that led to Amaro’s conviction. The case pits them against both their fellow officers and a hard-charging celebrity defense lawyer with a young associate named Carrie Blank, whose older sister was one of Amaro’s victims. As both the NYPD and Amaro’s legal team search for certainty in years of conflicting evidence, their investigations take them back to Carrie’s hometown and secrets left behind there. And when Carrie falls victim to a brutal attack, Hatcher knows that the young attorney got too close to the truth.
All Day and a Night by Alafair Burke is another intricately plotted and very intriguing mystery starring NYPD Detective Ellie Hatcher. In this outing, Ellie and her partner J.J. Rogan are selected by ADA Max Donovan to take a fresh look at a current murder investigation that matches the same MO as a series of murders twenty years earlier. Anthony Amaro confessed to one those killings and is currently serving a life sentence with no change of parole. When the DA’s office decides to take a second look at the earlier cases, DNA evidence from one of the victims exonerates Amaro and Ellie and Rogan are under pressure to find evidence that will keep the convicted killer behind bars.
An added complication to Ellie and Rogan’s investigation is Amaro’s overzealous defense attorney’s appeal of his conviction. A fiery TV personality and wrongful conviction advocate, Linda Moreland hires Carrie Blank to help find the evidence that will set Amaro free. Carrie is the sister of one of his alleged victims, and she is determined to discover who is responsible for her sister’s murder. At first confident that Amaro is indeed innocent, Carrie is soon plagued by doubts and begins to wonder what Moreland’s true motive is for wanting her on the team.
Ellie and Rogan are reluctant participants in the investigation but they are soon immersed in both the new and old cases. Shoddy police work, a possibly coerced confession and unreliable eye witnesses are just a few of the problems they encounter with the earlier investigation. However a new lead in the present murder points to possible link between the victim and the earlier deaths. Ellie and Rogan’s search for answers takes them to the small town where the killings began and they uncover a long buried secret that someone will go to any lengths to keep hidden.
Since All Day and a Night is the fifth book in the series, the characters continue to grow and the various relationships continue to strengthen and evolve. Ellie’s rougher edges are beginning to smooth a bit but she still retains many of the qualities that make her such a unique and likeable protagonist. She remains deeply committed to finding justice for the victims whose deaths she investigates. Ellie tries to maintain an emotional distance from love interest Max, but she takes steps to deepen her commitment to their relationship. She and Rogan have a great working relationship and their close friendship is made stronger by Rogan’s astute observations that provide some much needed insight into her personal life.
The overall plot is complex but the various story arcs are relatively easy to follow. The chapters alternate between Ellie and Carrie’s points of view, but these shifts in perspective are clearly marked. There are numerous plot twists that make solving the cases difficult and while I had a pretty good idea what the investigations would reveal, I never lost interest in the overall story and I was pleasantly surprised by the ultimate resolution of the different storylines.
All Day and a Night is a well-written a novel with a multi-faceted cast of characters. The story is engaging and fast-paced and the investigation is quite fascinating. Old and new fans of Alafair Burke are sure to enjoy this latest addition to the Ellie Hatcher series.
Click HERE to read my reviews of other books in the series.