Though this novel is the eighth published by J.T. Ellison for her Taylor Jackson series, it is the first I have read of the series and it is actually a prequel, so is a fitting introduction to all of the series characters.
It reminded me a lot of the Rizzoli and Isles series by Tess Gerritsen. A strong female lead protagonist who is a police homicide lieutenant at the tender age of thirty-four, her best friend Sam Owens (Samantha), who just happens to be the medical examiner, and of course her ‘team’ of sharp homicide cops.
Taylor is a likable character, tall, blond, and physically attractive with a husky voice, she is usually strong and is a workaholic. Just now however, she is recovering from a case in which her ex-lover and policeman was involved in criminal activity and in self-defense she shot him dead. That is enough for anyone to have panic attacks and nightmares. Taylor’s strong exterior demeanor hides her vulnerability and her deep empathy for her fellow man.
New to her team is Dr. John Baldwin, another casualty of a case gone wrong. Formerly working for the FBI as a criminal profiler, Baldwin is even more damaged than Taylor – he is suicidal.
Taylor and her team are tasked with finding a murderer of young women. The first victim was found prominently displayed and naked upon the steps of Nashville’s Parthenon. The killer believes himself to be God’s messenger and is striving to set in motion ‘The Apocalypse’. With bodies piling up in the morgue, the team are desperate to find the killer and they are hindered by a tornado that cuts a swath through downtown Nashville.
The plot of this novel was one which I found to be interesting and kept me turning the pages. The killer was not your usual serial killer and I found the case riveting. Although I liked the love story element between the two very damaged protagonists, I believe it was just a little too ‘pat’. Having never read any of the other novels in the series, perhaps readers that have would be more in tune with their relationship.
After some investigation, I found that “Field of Graves” was actually written before the other books in the series but was not published until now. The title alludes to Taylor’s nightmares and I find it interesting that Tennessee is the real-life home of the ‘body farm‘.
Anyone who enjoys a thriller with a strong police procedural element will love this novel. Also, those who enjoy romantic suspense will appreciate that part of the story.
New York Times bestselling author J.T. Ellison writes dark psychological thrillers starring Nashville Homicide Lt. Taylor Jackson and medical examiner Dr. Samantha Owens, and pens the Nicholas Drummond series with #1 New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter. Cohost of the premier literary television show, A Word on Words, Ellison lives in Nashville with her husband and twin kittens.