#Review “What She Never Said (Santa Barbara Suspense Series)” by Catharine Riggs

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4/5 Stars!

I had no problem disliking Ruth Mosby from the beginning of What She Never Said. She’s the judgmental busybody turning in her neighbors for the slightest infraction. She’s the patronizing manager pacifying employees to make her job easier without actually doing anything for them. The stickler for rules holds most of society in contempt for the disorganization and chaos of their lives.

And then chaos pays Ruth a visit.

The upscale retirement facility where she works is purchased by a mega-conglomerate, and Ruth is passed over for the position she’s spent eighteen years working toward. Her new boss is twenty years younger, a corporate guy, and pushing her toward the door. Bodies are piling up as seniors die seemingly from natural causes… until the causes aren’t so natural, and not all the dead are senior citizens.

But it’s “what she never said” that continues to plague Ruth and damage lives. My dad used to say, “You might get over, but you never get away.” Ruth is determined to get away with the lies of two decades ago, despite the cost.

This is a solid read with plenty of unanswered questions and mystery. All the characters are broken dealing with their pain in different… and harmful ways.

I liked Zach and Adam. While their descent into self-abuse and depression came with heavy prices and hurt those around them, that was never their intention.

Ruth is a different story. I understood her but will probably never like her. For over twenty years, she’s put herself in a box of rigid routines and anything that disturbs those routines is at fault and must be dealt with.

Several baits and switches point to different suspects, but I’d figured out who the serial killer was long before the end. To be honest, I don’t feel this author was trying to keep the identity hidden until the end. It felt more to me like additional time to get inside their head and see how they manipulated the other players.

A nervous habit of Ruth’s helps to bring about a good ending, but there is still much healing in the future for the characters in What She Never Said. Especially Ruth.



What She Never Said

Santa Barbara Suspense #2

What She Never Said

People are dying at a luxury retirement community . . . and not from natural causes.

Ruth Mosby is the VP of operations at Serenity Acres, where the privileged elite go to die. For a hefty fee, wealthy retirees can live the good life in this posh Santa Barbara community—even after they outlive their money. Ruth thinks this is a fine arrangement, but the savvy new boss has a new rule: if you can’t pay, you can’t stay.

Ruth is deeply disturbed when destitute residents start dying at an alarming rate, as if on cue. Even more troubling, a macabre note accompanies each departed guest. Surviving guests whisper about an “Angel” who assists with suicides. Ruth has another word for it: murder.

Ruth enlists her neighbor, an ex-detective named Zach, to discover the Angel’s secret identity. However, the two have a painful history, and Ruth has dark secrets all her own. To solve the mystery, Ruth must descend from her golden tower—but can she bear the consequences of revealing her own sinister truths?

Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Suspense

Published by: Thomas & Mercer

Publication Date:September 10th 2019

Number of Pages: 362

ISBN: 1542042135 (ISBN13: 9781542042130)

Series: Santa Barbara Suspense #2

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


Read an excerpt:


Some might call me a cold-blooded killer. I beg to disagree. I’m more like a kindly saint. A patron saint of crossings. One part Saint Christopher, two parts angel of mercy. Add a dash of Mother Teresa, and the recipe is getting close. I have a calling, and I’m good at it. I’ll keep it up until I’m stopped. “Will it hurt?” The bedside candle casts a shivering shadow across Loretta’s sunken face. Tracing my fingers along the glass syringe, I gaze into her liquid eyes. “Not for long.” I’ve administered a few insulin overdoses. It doesn’t seem like a bad way to go. But I never lie to my disciples. That would be morally wrong. “It won’t be worse than the bone cancer?” “It won’t be worse than that.” “Then I’m ready.” I tug her pink slip from my pocket and set it on the nightstand. “First, I need your secret.” Tears slip along the folds of Loretta’s crumpled cheeks. “I don’t have one.” I fight off a quiver of irritation. “You’re forgetting our agreement?” “Of course not. But I can’t think of a single thing.” “Oh, Loretta. I’m disappointed. I can see the secret in your eyes.” She plucks at her satin bedcovers until a lavender scent blooms. “What kind of secret do you want?” I shrug. “Your choice. It can be happy or sad. Scandalous or glorious. I’m not picky. It’s totally up to you. But it must be something you’ve never revealed. A defining moment in your life.” Loretta is quiet for so long I wonder if she might back out of the crossing. But then she speaks with a trembling voice. “All right then. It’s something that happened on my fourteenth birthday. I’ve never told anyone—not even my husband. I’m still so terribly ashamed.” “Go ahead,” I say, nearly drooling. This side of me isn’t quite so noble. Less like a saint and more like a tick. “It was a hot summer day in Michigan.” Her voice cracks as she speaks. “My friends were busy with chores, so I walked to the lake on my own. When I entered the forest, I heard a rustling behind me, and . . .” Her words drone on from there. Closing my eyes, I sip on her secret. Her words are like a melody—the mournful notes of a dove. When she finishes, I have tears in my eyes. “Thank you,” I say. “That was beautiful.” “Beautiful? But it was such a terrible moment. So unspeakably dark.” “There are times when dark can be beautiful.” Loretta takes a choking breath. “Yes, I suppose you’re right. And I do feel better somehow. You promise you’ll never tell?” “I promise.” “Good.” She lifts an arthritic hand and swats vaguely at the air. “You’ll stay with me?” “Until you cross.” “Then let’s get moving. I’m ready to see my Charles.” Loretta folds her hands across her chest and takes a quivering breath. “Peace be with you,” I whisper, and then I inject the fatal dose. A half hour later, I head to my office, where I retrieve my crossing journal and write the seventh entry in my book. *** Excerpt from What She Gave Away & What She Never Said by Catharine Riggs. Copyright 2020 by Catharine Riggs. Reproduced with permission from Catharine Riggs. All rights reserved.




This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Catharine Riggs. There will be three (3) winners. One (1) winner will receive an Amazon.com Gift Card, One (1) US ONLY winner will receive the series (print) and one (1) Worldwide winner will receive the series (audio). The giveaway begins on March 10, 2020 and runs through March 18, 2020. Void where prohibited.

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