Unholy City by Carrie Smith is the third book in the “Claire Codella” mystery series. Publisher: Crooked Lane Books, coming November 7, 2017

Despite their rocky history, Detective Claire Codella and Precinct Detective Brian Haggerty come together when senior churchwarden Philip Graves’s bloody body is found lying in the herb garden of historic St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Manhattan’s Upper West Side just two days before Good Friday. Upon first glance, it looks like a random act of big city violence, but it soon becomes clear churchwarden Philip’s death was the result of a meticulously calculated ploy by someone who knew him.

There are five vestry members and a choir director in addition to the ten homeless men asleep in the church basement. Any one of them could have done it, but what did Philip Graves do to warrant such a merciless death? Struggling to share the case and salvage their personal relationship, Claire, Brian and trusted Detective Eduardo Munoz work around the clock to uncloak the desires, secrets, and resentments that find home through the iron gates and into the hidden beauty of one historic Romanesque church in Unholy City, the haunting third installment in Carrie Smith’s Claire Codella mysteries.

So many secrets among the church member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church where multiple murders took place and no one is telling a soul. It’s up to Claire, Brian and Eduardo to dig deep into the suspected parishioners’ consciousness to shine a light on a murderer hiding in plain sight.

This was a well-written drama that captured my attention immediately and I could not put this book down until it was all said and done. The pacing was on par with the ease in which this tightly woven story was told. The author did a great job in keeping all the suspects involved throughout giving each one a voice that was heard amidst all that was happening as the detectives worked their case. I liked the way the author directed the storyline so that systematically those secrets were exposed and would eventually lead to the revelation of the killer’s identity. Bonus to me was the outcome with her Lieutenant. This was one of the best in the series and I can’t wait to see where we go next with Codella and her friends.

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FTC Full Disclosure – I received a digital ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.

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