The First Cut by Dianne Emley is the first book in the “Nan Vining” thrillogy series.  Publisher: Ballantine Books, December 2008

For two minutes she was dead.

The assailant was vicious, the attack brutal–and it left her lifeless . . . until her pulse fluttered and she jolted awake. Now, a year later, detective Nan Vining is still questioning her strength, her safety, even her sanity: Can she ever again be the cop–and mother–she was before? And will her attacker someday return to finish the job, before she can track him down herself?

Shaky but determined, Vining rejoins the Pasadena PD, only to confront a murder case that strikes close to home: A slain policewoman has been discovered beneath the Colorado Street Bridge, her body bruised, her throat slit. Even as Vining struggles to recover her standing within the department, she can’t help but feel profoundly drawn to the murdered officer, Frankie Lynde–and she is deeply troubled by the baffling otherworldly visions that haunt her waking hours. Are these mere fever dreams? Or could they be, as Vining’s daughter insists, messages from beyond the grave?

Digging deeper into Lynde’s past, Vining discovers clues that set her on the twisted trail of a killer as ruthless as he is depraved–a predator whose methods and madness recall those of her own attacker. Amid a rising tide of danger, she pushes herself to bold new limits, desperate to avenge the murder of a fellow police officer . . . and to reclaim the life she lost a year ago.

Packed with suspense and action, this pulse-pounding novel will hold you breathless from the first cut to the last.

For two minutes Pasadena police Detective Nanette Vining was dead, the result of a brutal knife attack that left her recuperating for a year.  Her attacker, who she dubbed T(he).B(ad). Mann escaped and secretly she will always be on the lookout for him.  Her first case upon her return to the detective squad is the death of fellow police officer, Frankie Lynde, by a knife. Her superiors fear this case may hit a little to close to home but Nan promises that she can handle the case.  Due to the attack, Nan has panic attacks whenever she has to enter strange homes, a fact she hides from the department and how the dead speaks to her, in particular, Frankie.  Nan feels strongly that the killer is a local man who has close ties to the police community, having recently won a citizen’s commendation.  Nan dwells more into the killer’s life and when a woman is listed as missing, Nan strongly feels both cases are connected.  It was exciting to see Vining put the pieces together and get this deranged psychopath off the street.  I couldn’t put this book down and look forward to the next book in the series.  [4 stars – really liked it]

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