By Julie McElwain
Series: Kendra Donovan #1
Published by Pegasus Books
on April 11, 2016
Cover image and summary from Goodreads:
Beautiful and brilliant, Kendra Donovan is a rising star at the FBI. Yet her path to professional success hits a speed bump during a disastrous raid where half her team is murdered, a mole in the FBI is uncovered and she herself is severely wounded. As soon as she recovers, she goes rogue and travels to England to assassinate the man responsible for the deaths of her teammates.
While fleeing from an unexpected assassin herself, Kendra escapes into a stairwell that promises sanctuary but when she stumbles out again, she is in the same place - Aldrich Castle - but in a different time: 1815, to be exact.
Mistaken for a lady's maid hired to help with weekend guests, Kendra is forced to quickly adapt to the time period until she can figure out how she got there; and, more importantly, how to get back home. However, after the body of a young girl is found on the extensive grounds of the county estate, she starts to feel there's some purpose to her bizarre circumstances. Stripped of her twenty-first century tools, Kendra must use her wits alone in order to unmask a cunning madman.
I was really excited to read this book, because the synopsis sounded like Outlander meets Silence of the Lambs or something. And I love that cover! So I was really really really hoping I would love this book, and thankfully, while it wasn’t a 5 star read, I really did enjoy A Murder in Time.
There are two things that I find pretty irresistible in my bookish life: a good mystery, and historical fiction. This book checks both of those boxes! I really liked the way the story opened in present day with the revelation of the mole in Kendra’s team, and then quickly sends her back in time and sets up a new mystery. The mystery kept me guessing right up until the end, and I love when that happens. And I love historical fiction, any time period, any location, and this setting reminded me of Downton Abbey, with the big house and the hierarchy even among the house staff (although I think this is set several years before the events of Downton Abbey).
My favourite part of the book was the way Kendra and others had to try and solve the murder using the forensic and investigative techniques of the time period. Kendra was so used to relying on technological advances and DNA as a member of the FBI, but of course back in 1815, none of that existed. It was all so interesting!
The writing was good, but not great. At times I felt as though things were being over-explained to the reader. I also didn’t care for the romance aspect of the story. It felt like there was so much going on in the book already, and I probably would have liked the book more without what felt to me like an unnecessary romance subplot. However, I think I’ve seen reviews where people complained that there wasn’t enough romance in the book, so you can’t please everyone! It all comes down to personal preference, and for me, the romance was my least favourite element of the story.
Overall, this was a really fun book that I read fairly quickly, considering the size (my hardcover is a chunky 500 pages). Recommended!