#Thriller Thursday #Tell Me (The Inland Empire2) by Anne Frasier @Thomas& Mercer

Synopsis:
No strangers to evil, criminal profiler Reni Fisher and detective Daniel Ellis both still grapple with traumatizing pasts. It unites them. So has a crime they must solve before someone else dies.

At a campsite on California’s Pacific Crest Trail, a guide is murdered and three young hikers vanish without a trace. The only lead is a puzzle in itself: a video of the crime scene, looking eerily staged, uploaded to social media. The girl who posted it can’t be found. Is it a viral hoax gone unspeakably wrong, or is there something more sinister at play in the forest?

The case intensifies when one of the missing is found wandering down a dirt road, confused and afraid. As Reni and Daniel struggle to sort fact from fiction, a secret past collides with the present, threatening to sever their relationship. Are some truths too much to bear? Will this be the case that finally breaks them?

What really happened in the forest? Hidden crimes and secrets of the past converge in a riveting thriller by Anne Frasier, the New York Times bestselling author of Find Me.

Series: Inland Empire#2 
Publisher:Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date:July 27, 2021
286 pages
ISBN 9781542025560, 1542025567 
 Fiction / Thrillers / Suspense                             

My thoughts:
In Tell Me, Anne Frasier’s gripping sequel to Find Me, we are back to the Mojave Desert and the Inland Empire area in Southern California. If you haven’t read Find Me, but are planning to do it, you should start from it. Tell Me provides re-cap of the main points of the previous book, so it would definitely diminish the effect of the narrative.

Reni Fisher is a former FBI profiler, a recluse and an artist who lives in a desert cabin and is still trying to make sense of her father’s horrifying legacy. Benjamin Fisher, the Inland Empire serial killer, murdered and buried tens of young women whom he lured to death by using his young, unsuspecting daughter Reni. For many years Reni refused to see her father. The only reason why she agrees to do it at the request of a young detective Daniel Ellis is that her father promises to reveal the burial sites. There’s nothing more Reni would like than to give a sense of closure to the families of the victims. Daniel also was traumatised by the event of his childhood. His mother disappeared when he was eight and he has never stopped looking for her, suspecting she might have been a victim of the Inland Empire killer.

Find me provides closure for one of the two protagonists (I deliberately don’t want to say who) and we know there is more to the story. The new case of three sixteen-year-old hikers who disappeared from a campsite on the Pacific Crest Trail is fascinating on its own. The girls were sent to a digital detox retreat by their parents and went on a three-day hike with an experienced guide. The dead body of the guide was later found lying in her tent by two passing hikers, one of whom posts a video on the social media. Some people suspect it’s a hoax, but Daniel instinct tells him to check the story out and there isn’t anyone he’d rather ask to help him than Reni.

Overall, I liked the plot, but there was so much going on, so many topics: social media, school shootings, PTSD, incels (right, I had to look the word up), pressures of parenthood and others. It could have all falen apart, but for Anne Frasier’s superb writing style-she really knows how to engage the reader with plenty of action and clever twists. Told in short, snappy chapters, the book is very easy to read.

Both Reni and Daniel are wonderful protagonists. Their empathy with the victims and perpetrators alike (for Daniel there are no evil people, just terrible choices these people made) helps them in their investigations. By the way, the sinister bird on the cover for both Find Meand Tell Me isn’t just there to give the readers creeps. Reni used to be fascinated by birds as a child and drew them a lot. Her father taught her to make her drawings as accurate as possible and this ability to focus on details is another factor (together with empathy) that makes Reni so good in her job of finding missing people.

The setting is one of the best features of these two books. Here we have hiking trails in addition to the desert and its healing powers. For Reni, the barrenness of the dry season is temporary-she knows good months, full of magical flowers and amazing colours, will come.

The ending was just perfect. With all the loose ends tied up, The Inland Empire series can end here, but we have two likeable protagonists who make a wonderful team together and perhaps Anne Frasier will decide to give us another story- I’ll be there for it!

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher (Thomas & Mercer) for the review copy, provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

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6 Comments

  1. Excellent review Toni. So you know, I had to look up incel to see what it was. This sounds very interesting. Thanks for sharing about the cover, the crow creeped me out a bit. An author I have not heard of, but will see if I can find these books. A new author that you like is always a treat.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thankyou, Carla! Good to know I wasn’t the only one who didn’t know this term! Both books in the series have crows on the cover and I kept getting confused which one was the beginning of the series/duology. Both are short and fast-paced and can be read in one sitting. Apparently, Anne Frasier is quite a prolific author!

      Liked by 1 person

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