Book Review | A Deadly Business

A Deadly Business
A Mia Quinn Mystery
Lis Wiehl with April Henry

Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
Genre:  Christian Adult Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Released:  2014

[Goodreads]
If the hours don't kill you, the accused just might.

Mia Quinn is a Seattle prosecutor working on high profile cases in the Violent Crimes unit while juggling the impossible demands of single parenthood. Her husband, Scott, was killed in a car crash that homicide detective Charlie Carlson now believes was no accident. Charlie's instincts and professional record make it impossible for Mia to refute the evidence she'd rather not believe.

When the powers that be refuse to reopen the case, it's up to Mia and Charlie to investigate, all the while trying to deny a growing attraction between them. Was her accountant husband really in league with nefarious criminals? And who is the young woman whose photo they find on his computer?

Uncovering the truth may hurt Mia in more ways than one.


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WARNING: Possible Spoilers
This is an adult fiction novel.  Some scenes reveal quite a bit of blood and/or disfigurement that may or may not be mentioned in this review.  Simply be aware that mystery thrillers such as this one involve a good bit of blood and gore, as well as a body count.

[The Basics]
Mia Quinn, court prosecutor and single mother of two (fourteen-year-old Gabe and four-year-old Brooke), struggles to make ends meet while working full time and providing for her precious kids.  After losing her husband, Scott, to a car accident, her world is turned upside down by the knowledge that he had kept secrets and buried them in debt.  For the past few years, she had noticed the change and the gap between them, but neglected to act until it was too late.  Now, her friend Charlie, a detective with the Seattle police, believes Scott was murdered.  

Meanwhile another case makes its way to her desk and demands attention.  Two of three boys are arrested for dropping a shopping cart on a woman from a four-story building.  It is Mia's decision whether to charge them as adults or juveniles.  In order to discern the best route, Mia and Charlie interview each boy and anyone close to them.  All come from broken homes and bad neighborhoods, with no chance to learn life the right way.  Mia's heart breaks for them and she does her best to build her case as well as make it so the boys can have a second chance--something that would not happen if they were sentenced to an adult prison.

All this piles on to her already heavy burdens, which threaten to bury her for good.  In more ways than one.

[Positives]
Mia does her best to be both parents to her children.  She makes an effort in her busy schedule to talk and play and regrets when work calls her away.  (Hey! I rhymed.)  Despite doubts and worry, she doesn't hesitate to welcome a family into her own home when they had lost theirs and were living in an unheated garage.  

She loves her kids and would do absolutely anything for them.  

Gabe, now the man of the house, tries his best to be just that.

[Negatives]
Because Mia works full-time as a prosecutor, she doesn't have much of a chance to interact with her children, other than get them ready for school, breakfast, and brief makeshift dinners.  She regrets not having the time to tumble with her daughter and feels she's missing the best years of her kid's lives.  Gabe is distant and quiet.  They no longer go to church, her youngest doesn't have any memories of God's place at all, and Mia herself has fallen away.

[SPOILER]  We learn that Scott was cheating on Mia.  

It is implied that Mia's boss is having an affair.

[Spiritual Content]
Not much.  Though this is a Christian fiction.  As mentioned above, Mia has fallen away and realizes so.  She prays, but usually only when life gets tough.  This novel just seemed very vague on the faith issue, and I wished there had been more to it.  (Still a great book, though!)

[Violence]
Mia is nearly cut in the throat with a razor blade during a court session gone wild.  The criminal in question lunges and wraps his fingers around her throat.  She is bruised and shaken, but otherwise unharmed.

Mia's home is seemingly broken into, but no evidence that anything was taken.  Her son and daughter arrive while the alarm is blaring; he goes in alone, leaving Brooke to hide in the bushes.  Very intense scene, but no harm done.

A woman is severely injured when three thoughtless boys drop a shopping cart from a four story building.  We read a full description of her physical condition while lying in a hospital bed.  I won't go into detail, but it is quite gory.  [SPOILERS] She survives, but is left in a coma for most of the book. * Her own husband attempts to kill her in an act of "mercy."  He doesn't succeed.

Scott, Mia's late husband, was killed in a previous car accident.  We read the full detail of his injuries.  Again, gory.

A woman is shot, which proves fatal, but not before she leaves a message in her own blood.  A man is sent to make it so she will be unrecognizable in death.  (He cuts two of her fingertips with clipping shears, but is interrupted before he could do anything further.)  

Restaurant workers are being abused and threatened by their manager.  We see bruises on a waitress' wrist.  A man is slapped hard across the face.

A woman is abducted at gunpoint and forced to drive the guy's car to the harbor where they board a yacht.  She later jumps ship and nearly succumbs to hypothermia before she is rescued.

A man is grazed by a bullet and breaks his arm.  Another is shot in the chest twice. 

[Language, Alcohol & Drugs]
Muttered curses and expletives, but never spelled out.

Brief mention of wine, maybe. . ?  A guy makes a mental note to by a beer for another guy as a "well-earned reward."  

[SPOILER]  It is discovered that a business is smuggling cocaine.

[Love-y Content]
Two men are equally attracted to Mia and feel a wee bit o' jealously for her.  A woman's figure is discussed.  Two men and a woman are stripped to their underwear and wrapped together in blankets in an attempt to warm the woman and save her from hypothermia.  One of the men kisses her bare shoulder, praying for her to live.

[Conclusion]
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, as I love mystery thrillers!  It is a definite page turner and one you won't want to put down.  The plot moves fast, but seems just the right speed with just the right intensity and a wee bit of humor thrown in.  You see the struggle of single parents providing for their children, young men with no hope in life, a woman fighting for every breath, and revealed secrets involving murder.  Your typical mystery novel, but entertaining all the way.  A great read!

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Recommended ages:  18+


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2 comments

Risa said...

Glad you liked the book. Lis Wiehl (and April Henry) are definitely talented writers!

Sarah Elizabeth said...

Yes, ma'am. I have enjoyed their books so far. :]

Thanks for commenting!