By Elise Cooper | June 29, 2022
The Texas Murder Files Book 3
midnight dunes by Laura Griffin has intrigue, romance, suspense and mystery. Many previous characters from the Lost Beach Police Department also appear. The relationships, both professional and personal, are well written, showing how each had a pursuit of justice.
The setting of the island community of Lost Beach Texas adds to the suspense. “I wanted to write about this coastal town. I grew up spending my summers here. I fit into the story: the sights, the smells, the weather, the food and the people.
The heroine, Macey Burns, like Miranda Rhoads, the heroine of the previous book, comes to the island of Lost Beach looking for a reset. After a few personal and professional scandals, Macey must do the things she loves and do it on her own terms. She hopes this work with the city will be a launching pad for a new venture. She’s ready to focus on her first passion, making documentary films, and has a new job for the island’s tourist board, filming footage of the idyllic beachside community.
“I wrote Macey as having a background in television journalism. She is very tenacious, curious, frank, all the characteristics necessary for her work. She went from television reporting to filmmaking. She went through the crisis after losing her job and wants a fresh start, determined to reinvent herself with a start-up.
She rents a small house on the beach to relax and work on her new job. When a body is found in the sand dunes not far from her rental, she learns that the deceased woman was the former tenant of the house she is renting, Julia Murphy, who ended up murdered.
Learning a few details and using her skills as a former TV reporter, Macey begins to connect the dots about the murder. Realizing that she can give some perspective to the case; Detective Owen Breda chooses his brains to help make inroads. Being the brother of the hero of the previous books, Joel Breda, he is under intense pressure to solve this murder. As the clock ticks, the cameras roll, and the body count climbs, Macey and Owen must use all their resources to find the killer without getting caught in the crosshairs.
“Owen is very protective of those he loves. He is also very intuitive, intense, persistent, confident and follows his instincts. Owen is very easy going. At times he feels overshadowed by his brother due to rivalry, since he is also a detective.
The relationship is a slow burn. They are attracted to each other, but for various reasons they keep pulling back. Yet they are reunited in many circumstances, which allows them to bond. “I had Macey very suspicious given her past experiences, but Owen’s persistence depresses her. Complications are due to secrets and distrust.
This is an exciting, intriguing and suspenseful thriller that will keep readers on their toes, especially as the pages turn to the final climax. A bonus is the tongue-in-cheek humor which is a gut-wrenching release of dread.
As with all of his books, murder mysteries with some romances are prevalent. “I write two romantic thrillers a year. I have a great interest in forensics and try to incorporate it into all of my stories. Next spring will be another book in this series. Leyla, the sister of “Owen and Joel, is the heroine. She runs a cafe on the island. Before this book, I’m doing a standalone book called Disappearance time, released in October. This is the story of a woman with a search and rescue dog. She is drawn into a homicide investigation and mysterious disappearances in a large park in Texas, working with a detective with whom she is romantically involved.