BOOK REVIEW: Ties That Bind by Carolyn Arnold

When a woman is found strangled in her home, Detective Madison Knight and her partner Terry Grant rule it an isolated incident. But when another woman is murdered with the same line of neckties, they know it isn’t a coincidence. Now they must figure out the connection so they can stop a potential serial killer before he gets to his third victim.

This book is hard to review for me. I really want to like it.  I really do.  It's well written in that it does keep you guessing to the end.  It's well written in that the actual mystery, the murders, are fairly well fleshed out.  However, the relationships of the detectives and the other law enforcement personnel are not so well fleshed out.  For being a first book in a series there is a lot of assuming that the reader already knows the characters and their relationships and interplay.  And that dialogue left a lot to be desired.  Madison and Terry (her partner) have a weird relationship that is never really defined.  And he has 'something' going on at home that is always alluded to but again never really defined.  Madison, herself, has all these things that pop up in about her and her past but again never fleshed out or even addressed in a way that makes sense.  Character and relationship development left me wanting.  These are the things I expect to be most pronounced in the first book of a series, not left to later books.

Back to the story, woman is murdered.  Through the investigation that is the obvious suspect and then this dangling thread of a possible someone else that no one can identify.  Then another woman is murdered so guy one is totally off the hook.  However, getting actual real information about the victims is difficult when no one tells them anything.  While all this is going on there are vignettes from the real murderer so you know that the people being looked at are actually innocent.  And then there is a third murder that seems so obvious who is ultimately responsible for all of them.  However, Madison refuses to take anything at face value, much to the annoyance of her superiors.  Sometimes something that is wrapped up with a nice bow on top is too good to be true.  Sometimes it's not but if you stop looking you never get the story of the wrapping, which sometimes is just as important as what is wrapped.

Arnold builds a decent mystery.  She builds a decent story.  However, she didn't build memorable characters.  I don't feel like I know them any better than I did in the beginning.  And for all the whining and whatnot Madison did about life I still don't know why she worried and carried on about the things she did.

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Ties That Bind (Madison Knight, #1)
About Carolyn Arnold
CAROLYN ARNOLD is the international bestselling and award-winning author of the Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher, and McKinley Mystery series. She is the only author with POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Carolyn was born in a small town, but that never kept her from dreaming big. On par with her large dreams is her overactive imagination that conjures up killers and cases to solve. She currently lives outside Toronto with her husband and beagle. She is also a member of Crime Writers of Canada.

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