Hot House: A Thriller by Lisa Towles is a crime story with an irresistible appeal to fans of sleuth and investigative stories with tight writing and complex characters. It is the opening book in a psychological thriller series. Former CIA analyst turned private investigator, Mari Ellwyn, works with ex-cop, Derek Abernathy, to investigate the possible links within the cases of a blackmailed Judge, the disappearance of two journalists who have been working on a sensational story, and the murder of an exchange student. While dealing with her personal trauma and complicated relationships, Mari is tailed by a grey van. Can the two detectives uncover the mystery before it is too late?
Cunningly plotted and featuring fully drawn and genuinely flawed characters, Hot House: A Thriller by Lisa Towles makes for a wonderful offering for fans of sleuth. The readers will adore the characters; they are sophisticated and each has a background that helps to beef them up, making them even more compelling as they weave through the complex plot points and robust scenes. For instance, Mari still suffers from the effects of a bullet wound sustained while working with the CIA. Her relationship with her father, a CIA operative, is intelligently explored and it adds depth to her character. The murdered student is written with a split personality disorder and the execution of this character is brilliant. The prose is crisp, the plot loaded with strong points, and the conflict well-crafted. Lisa Towles knows how to infuse emotional and psychological depth into the characters, making them real and relatable and putting them into situations that are equally complex.
This new series opens with a twisty tale, and the unpredictability in the plot development will have readers turning the pages. The plot is propelled forward by the clever use of suspense, measured action, and ingeniously written conflict. It is a moving and delightful read with cinematic scenes and characters that will stick with readers for a long after they turn the last page. Fans of sleuth will enjoy Towles’ detailed writing and her diligence in handling conflict; it is absorbing, it is beautifully paced, and it is balanced.