A review by tessa_talks_books
Aftershock by Judy Melinek, T. J. Mitchell


Aftershock is a suspenseful new novel in the Jessie Teska mystery series by Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell.

The novel's suspense is developed so brilliantly that I couldn't put the book down even when I had other things I needed to do. It kept me gripped in its pages, waiting to see what would happen next. The story's earthquake was fitting for the setting and added another level of intrigue and suspense that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Jessie Teska is an independent, driven woman who grapples with the many scars' consequences from her childhood. She doesn't care if other people like her, only that she gives her job her all. Unfortunately, that attitude, along with her abruptness and disregard for her choices' possible consequences, made her a character that I found unsympathetic and unable to connect to on any level. She is well-developed on a technical level, but I could not find a connection that I could hold on to that would make me enjoy following her from one mystery to another.

The mystery of who murdered a famous architect comes to an expected conclusion, which surprised me since I wasn't even trying to figure out who did it. There are red herrings and misdirections, but there was just something about the murderer that was like a neon arrow pointing to that character. This did not detract from the suspense, however, so it did not impact my reading experience.

What did impact my reading experience is the social issue presented as a significant theme in the novel. (I think explaining what the theme is could be seen as a spoiler so that I won't name it.) Many aspects of the theme worked well with the story from all angles presented, but the ending stretched my suspended disbelief to where it snapped, and reality came crashing its way into the story. Unfortunately, this reaction made my enjoyment of the story not as great as I expected going into it.

Would I try another book in the series? I would because there are many great qualities to this mystery, but this particular story didn't hold me past the book's closing.