Book Reviews

Cause to Kill – A Review

Cause to Kill is the first book of the Avery Black mystery series written by Blake Pierce. Detective Avery Black was a high-profile criminal defense attorney, who made a career switch to law enforcement. She was recently promoted to detective and works in homicide. Everyone in A1 police station, and everyone in law enforcement by extension, dislikes Avery Black because she effectively defended a serial killer named Howard Randall (who would later kill again in Black’s name). This leads to crazy rumors about her in A1 (and throughout law enforcement officials) and insubordination.

In her first week as a detective, Black investigates the deaths of a Harvard student, an MIT student, and a Brandeis student, all of whom are female with bright futures after college. Her partner, Detective Ramirez, who chose to be her partner, quickly ends up in the hospital from a stab wound from the first suspect they investigated. As the pattern emerge and everyone wants the serial killer caught urgently, Black becomes desperate and seeks Randall for clues.

When she visits Randall in prison, prison workers photographed her visit and released those photos to the tabloids, making her and A1 look bad. This gives everyone in A1 additional ammunition to distrust her and make things up about her.

Other baggage she carries include being an absentee mother (her daughter, Rose, now a teenager heading to Brandeis) and having an abusive childhood that no one should have to endure.

I did not like this book as much as I liked Once Gone for these reasons:

  1. Cause to Kill is too similar to Once Gone.
    • Both Avery Black and Riley Page work for law enforcement – Black works for Boston Police while Page works for the the FBI.
    • Both Black and Page have people at work who get in their way, which forces them to rely on themselves – Black has a useless team and does not really help her, while Page has a boss who is more concerned about rising in the ranks than doing his job, supporting his team, and being a leader, and thus creates obstacles for Page.
    • Both ladies are hunting for a serial killer.
    • Both Black and Page have disturbing childhoods and their fathers were the primary cause of it.
    • Both have complicated relationships with their daughters, mainly because of their careers.
    • Both self-medicate with alcohol to some degree.
  2. Profanity.
    • The “F” word is used a lot in the book, which I understand that this language is likely to be used by law enforcement officials; I just do not care for such language and I do not use it in my life.
  3. Detective Ramirez is barely visible.
    • Ramirez was one of two people who chose to be Black’s partner to try to form his own opinion about her without relying on circulating rumors, but was hospitalized so quickly in the book.
    • His character is clearly described as a minority/non-white person (and Jones is Jamaican), offering a tiny bit of diversity in law enforcement, but Black ends up working with men with surnames like O’ Malley, Connelly, and Finley, and Ramirez ends up having a tiny role in this book.

Feel free to share your thoughts Cause to Kill and my review in the comment section.

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