A Book Spy Review: ‘Her Father’s Secret’ by Sara Blaedel

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Her Father's SecretIlka Nichols Jensen returns to star in another nerve-racking thriller from Sara Blaedel (The Underkeepers Daughter, 2018, etc.).

While Blaedel’s last novel detailed Jensen’s move from Denmark to Racine, Wisconsin following the death of her father—who left her a funeral home and a number of dark secrets to go with them—her latest offering focuses on the final funeral held at the home, and a murder investigation that might just be connected to the business in more ways than one. 

Much like the last thirty years, Ilka continues to wonder why her father abandoned her decades ago, having never again reached out to her before his recent death. Only now, she’s also trying to run the failing business he left her, all the while meeting his new family and friends for the first time. Though she makes an effort to connect with her father’s second wife and their two daughters, they aren’t all too welcoming of Ilka, frequently giving her the cold shoulder and acting put off by her presence. 

Though the funeral home is failing, Ilka finds the cash to put on the final viewing for a local woman who was murdered in her home, but things take a wild turn when she discovers letters proving that the dead woman had been blackmailing her father for nearly twenty years. Setting out to uncover the truth about her dad once and for all, Ilka begins sifting through his mysterious life, which, it turns out, is still riddled with dark secrets and dangerous enemies . . . and if she’s not careful, she could become the next casualty in a growing number of untimely and questionable deaths. 

Blaedel, who knows her way around a mystery plot as well as anyone, does a fine job developing her heroine here. Ilka, now forty-years-old, is still adjusting to life in Wisconsin and struggling to meet people. She’s on Tinder and looking to connect with someone, anyone, but just can’t escape her father’s secrets, of which there are many. The pacing is steady, and Blaedel does a fine job hooking the reader early, delivering another page-turner that packs a wicked cliff-hanger ending that’ll have her readers begging for the next book. 

Expertly written and deftly plotted, Her Father’s Secret is a wild, fun mystery that shows once again why Sara Blaedel is fast becoming one of the premier mystery writers in the game. 

Book Details

Author: Sara Blaedel 
Series: Ilka Jensen #2
Pages: 320 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1496721721
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: March 5, 2019
Book Spy Rating: 7.5/10

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Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). Steck also works full-time as a freelance editor and pens a monthly thriller column for CrimeReads. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.

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