Deadly Bonds is the latest in a series of nine crime novels by L.J. Sellers starring Detective Wade Jackson, and is the only one I’ve personally read. I was interested to see if this can be enjoyed as a stand-alone novel, even if the reader doesn’t know any background or previous storylines about the characters.
The story follows the investigation by Jackson and his team into the murder of young mother Amanda Carter, whose young boy Benjie was found hiding in fear at the house where she was killed, and the separate investigation into the death of well-known college football player Logan Grayson. The two narratives intertwine as the story continues, which I really enjoyed and found interesting.
L.J Sellers seems to be really skilled at creating three-dimensional, interesting characters and Jackson is certainly one of them. His own daughter Katie has run away from home and, in trying to deal with this, we see that he doesn’t always handle things as well as he should. He is a flawed character, trying to make up for what he sees as his failure with Katie by looking after Benjie, the victim Amanda Cater’s little boy, and this only makes me like him more as a character- he recognises that is not perfect but he is trying to make amends, and he continues to try to do so with his own daughter where possible. Add this to the fact that he seems to be a talented, experienced Detective and I found him really likable as a character.
In contrast, his colleague Evans is a lot less experienced. She has been trained by Jackson and is eager to prove herself. She can be a little reckless and takes risks on a couple of occasions, but at the same time is a brilliant Detective. Both her and Jackson seem to work well together and are convincing as a team.
The novel seems well-researched and is skilfully written to move along at just the right pace, keeping me interested throughout; it doesn’t seem rushed but at no point teeters on dull. Having never read any other of her Detective Jackson books, I found that the few details I needed to know were concisely explained as I read through it and I had no problems understanding what was happening as the storyline was quite self-contained. The plot kept the tension high and the added inclusion of traumatised little boy Benjie, and other characters who pulled at my heart strings, meant I really cared about the outcome of this novel, something that I don’t always feel.
Overall, Deadly Bonds is a really enjoyable detective novel and I would definitely want to read others in the series. Highly recommended!
** I received an advance copy of this book for review- Deadly Bonds will be published on August 26th **