Dirty Little Secrets (J.J. Graves Mystery #1) by Liliana Hart

Diving back into my TBR list sitting on my Kindle, I’m not sure if I picked up this book because I was hooked on Pretty Little Liars and the cover reminded me of the series so I thought it would be cool. There really are no reasons especially when its really a shot in the dark and hoping that its a good read. I’ve never read anything from Liliana Hart before so let’s check it out!

Dirty Little Secrets (J.J. Graves Mystery #1)
By: Liliana Hart

dirty little secrets

J.J. Graves has seen a lot of dead bodies in her line of work. She’s not only in the mortuary business, but she’s also the coroner for King George County, Virginia. When a grisly murder is discovered in the small town of Bloody Mary, it’s up to J.J. and her best friend, Detective Jack Lawson, to bring the victim justice. The murders are piling up. When a popular mystery writer shows up on J.J.’s doorstep with plans of writing his new book about the Bloody Mary Serial Killer, J.J. has to decide if he might be going above and beyond the call of duty to create the spine tinglers he’s so well known for. Passions are rising. J.J and Jack discover each victim had a shocking secret, and the very foundation of J.J.’s life is in danger of crumbling when it turns out she’s harboring secrets of her own—secrets that make her a perfect target in a deadly game. – Goodreads

Mystery/thriller/suspense are so hard to do well. I can tell you that this book has nothing to do with anything like the plot of Pretty Little Liars of course, as you can see in the summary above. The star of the show is J.J. Graves who is a doctor turned mortician who also shadows in this small hometown as the person taking care of autopsies which usually are just normal everyday natural or accidental deaths and nothing like murders until one murder after the next plague the town and it becomes apparent that someone from the town itself could be responsible and that the victims lead a much darker life than they lead on. Small towns are a great setting for murder mysteries because it keeps things confined whether in terms of relationships or just the possible suspects and gives it space to be easier to follow. For that, Liliana Hart did really good at setting up that stage. The mystery itself made sense and the big reveal also was logical and twisty enough to be a surprise.

Dirty Little Secrets is a pretty quick read because it keeps its length under control. It will have your brain wondering the whodunnit question. However, the book does have its downfall. One of the biggest ones is creating a character like J.J. who isn’t exactly someone we can care for. She is very human because of her imperfections however, she does have a generic personality as a mortician or even the big hidden secret reveal. Her conversations are uninspired especially as we step into the middle when she is infatuated by the stranger in the town while her best friend, the hunk and player of the town Jack fumes over her decisions. Now, what J.J. lacks, Jack’s character makes up a little for. He is still a little generic in his background but there are more layers to his personality and in the bits where he shows up, it leaves us wanting to know more about this character.

As the debut of a series, Dirty Little Lies does well to set up our characters and a look at the town setting. While there are some uncompelling and generic elements, there are still bits to retain it and if not that, the writing style here is a pleasure to read. It does leave me curious to see where the characters will go especially after getting through showing is the basics of this character in this first book that the next one will have more intriguing layers to work with. Maybe I will give it a whirl some time, just to see if its worth continuing to read the entire series, which seems to have ended at Book #4.5.

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