Title: Forgotten City by Carrie Smith
Claire Codella Mystery Series Book Two
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
NYPD Detective Claire Codella is chomping at the bit for a new case. Lieutenant McGowan is determined to keep her out of the news, but she’s about to be back in the public eye in a big way.
Broadway legend Lucy Merchant has tragically succumbed to early onset Alzheimer’s. At age fifty-six, she’s tucked away in the dementia care unit of the ultra-exclusive Manhattan care facility Park Manor. When she falls asleep and doesn’t wake up, her billionaire husband is ready for the funeral, but her daughter demands an investigation.
Only three months back on the job after cancer treatment, Codella finds herself at the center of a high profile case nearly everyone–especially her lieutenant–wants to shut down. But the forensic evidence raises alarming questions and Codella needs answers. To find them, she will have to crack the defenses of slippery administrators, frightened caregivers, and unobliging family members, all while unlocking some of her own dark memories.
Forgotten City, Carrie Smith’s gripping follow-up to Silent City, pits the unrelenting detective against a cast of diverse New Yorkers driven by their desires and ambitions and haunted by their pasts. But can she piece together the truth before the murderer kills again?
Forgotten City by Carrie Smith is a fast-paced and intriguing police procedural. This second installment in the Claire Codella Mystery series can be read as a standalone but I highly recommend the previous book as well.
Following the inexplicable death of her mother, Lucy Merchant, her daughter Julia is the only person who wants someone to look into the case. She turns to Detective Claire Codella in hopes of getting to the truth about what happened to her mom. Claire needs more than conjecture and accusations to open an investigation, so she does a little off the books digging around before approaching her boss, Lt. Dennis McGowan. Finding enough evidence to be convinced that Lucy’s death might be the result of foul play, Claire turns to her old partner and current love interest, Brian Haggerty and homicide Detective Eduardo Muñoz for help. Despite pressure from Lucy’s husband, Thomas, and Lt. McGowan to close the case, Claire is determined to bring the killer to justice.
Claire begins her investigation at the upper crust nursing facility where Lucy died. She first questions Director Constance Hodges, who seems eager for the case to be closed. Claire cannot help but wonder if Constance is deliberately misleading her about Lucy’s care. The next person Claire needs to talk to is Baiba Lielkaja, the person in charge of the memory care unit where Lucy was being take care of. However, Baiba is out sick and Claire cannot help but be suspicious of the timing of her absence. The next person on her list to interview is Lucy’s caregiver Brandon Johnson, whose sudden resignation makes Claire very curious to see if he is trying to hide something.
Thomas Merchant is definitely a person of interest and he is initially eager to shut down Claire’s investigation. Finally deciding it is in his best interest to cooperate with the police, he grants permission for an autopsy. Preliminary findings support Claire’s theory Lucy was murdered but she is stymied over what possible motive someone would have for killing Lucy. She must now take a harder look at the people in Lucy’s life and she uncovers some very unsettling information about Thomas. After catching one of the people she has interviewed in a lie, Claire grows concerned that she has allowed some her unresolved personal history to cloud her judgement about some of the suspects in the case.
While Claire is still struggling with professional issues stemming from McGowan’s continued resentment, she has made some positive changes in her personal life. Her relationship with Brian has deepened but she still harbors a few misgivings about their future together. Despite her efforts to hold him at arms’ length, Claire is finally forced to face up to her fears but is she truly ready for the next phase of their romance?
With a perplexing crime, a cast of eclectic characters and a shocking conclusion, Forgotten City is a clever addition to Carrie Smith’s Claire Codella Mystery series. Claire is a complex protagonist with a complicated backstory that adds depth to her character. The investigation moves at brisk pace and Carrie Smith brilliantly conceals the killer’s identity and motive for the crime until the novel’s action-packed ending. An absolutely outstanding whodunit that I highly recommend to fans of the genre.