Review: Anonymous by Elizabeth Breck

Title: Anonymous by Elizabeth Breck
A Madison Kelly Mystery Book One
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


The note was threatening enough–but its link to two cold cases and a sinister unseen presence sends P.I. Madison Kelly on a frantic search for the truth.

Madison Kelly, a San Diego private investigator, arrives home to a note stabbed to her front door: Stop investigating me, or I will hunt you down and kill you. The only problem? Madison hasn’t been investigating anyone–she’s been taking time off to figure out what to do with her life. But how does she prove a negative? The only way to remove the threat is to do exactly what “Anonymous”, the note writer, is telling her not to do: investigate to see who left it. Could this have something to do with the true crime podcast she’s been tweeting about, and the missing girls?

The girls went missing, two years apart, after a night at the clubs in San Diego’s famed Gaslamp Quarter, and Madison had been probing the internet for clues. She discovers that someone has been one step ahead of her, monitoring her tweets to prevent her from getting too close. Soon Madison’s investigation brings up more questions than answers: are the disappearances connected? Are the girls dead or did they just walk away from their lives? And who is Anonymous, the person who will stop at nothing to keep Madison from learning the truth?

As she closes in, so does Anonymous. Set against a backdrop of surfer culture and coffee houses of San Diego, Anonymous follows Madison as she confronts the reality of the girls’ disappearance in a terrifying climax where the hunter becomes the hunted–and Madison is running for her life.


Anonymous by Elizabeth Breck is an intriguing mystery with a strong lead character.

Madison Kelly is a private investigator who mainly works with insurance companies. While taking time off work, she is listening to true crime podcasts. She is very interested in a podcast about two unsolved murders that occurred in the local area. Four years ago, Samantha Erickson went missing after a night of drinking in the San Diego Gaslamp Quarter. Two years after her disappearance, Elissa Alvarez vanished from another bar in the same vicinity. Madison has been interacting with the podcasters and other listeners on twitter. So when she arrives home after a jog one morning to find a threatening note on her door, she is first confused about what the note writer is referring to.  Madison soon becomes certain she is being warned about her on-line musings about the missing women.  This attempt at intimidation piques her curiosity so she begins seriously investigating the two cases.  Will Madison unmask a killer? Or will she become the next victim?

Madison is an independent woman who mainly relies on no one but herself both in business and her personal life. In the past, she has depended on her friendship with local police Detective Tom Clark for occasional assistance. However, their relationship has recently been strained for several months. She pushes aside her uneasiness and asks him to analyze the notes for her. Meanwhile, she begins retracing Elissa and Samantha’s movements on the nights they vanished. Madison also interviews the family members and friends of each woman hoping they will have information to aid her investigation.

Madison’s private life is fairly solitary and she has a bit of a friends with benefits relationship with local surfer Dave Rich. Deciding to expand her social network, she agrees to go out with one of her neighbors.  When she unearths startling new evidence, Madison arranges to meet Tom and he introduces her to his friend Ken. As she inches closer and closer to solving the cases, Madison is uncertain whom she can trust.

Anonymous is a clever mystery with interesting twists and turns. Madison is a likable protagonist but she is sometimes a little too trusting. The investigations are evenly paced but Madison’s instincts are not quite as sharply honed as she believes. Although a fairly easy to solve whodunnit, Elizabeth Breck pulls off a suspenseful denouement. This well-written debut is a promising beginning for the Madison Kelly Mystery series.

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Filed under A Madison Kelly Mystery, Anonymous, Contemporary, Crooked Lane Books, Elizabeth Breck, Mystery, Rated B, Review, Suspense

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