A Penny For Her Heart (Detective Rachel Storme Book 3) by Alretha Thomas

Strong, Classy Heroine

A Penny For Her Heart (Detective Rachel Storme Book 3) by Alretha Thomas, 328 pages, July 10 2017, Genre: Mystery. Warning: May Contain Spoilers.

I received an ARC copy in exchange for my honest review.

Review by Leigh Holland.

A Penny For Her Heart is the latest installment in the Detective Rachel Storme series from author Alretha Thomas. The book can be read separately from the others as a stand alone. Although this is the first book in the series I’ve read, I intend to pick up the others. Thomas switches perspectives between two strong female characters, Vanessa Rossi and Rachel Storme. She did this masterfully as I never had any trouble keeping up with whose perspective I was reading. I enjoyed being able to see events from the point of view of both the detective solving the murder and the best friend of the victim, forever touched by it.

Vanessa is a bright, ambitious, hard-working political aide who decides to come to city hall on a Saturday to get some work done. She discovers a horrifying murder scene in the ladies’ bathroom. She alerts the guard who looks inside and phones the cops. They confirm that the victim in the stall is Vanessa’s co-worker and best friend, Penelope (“Penny”). Over the course of the story, Vanessa comes to realize her best friend had kept a lot of secrets and even lied- to her, and to everyone. Vanessa, however, has also been keeping a secret from her husband. When he calls her on it, she realizes that even the best intentioned people lie. How well do we really know those closest to us? Are they going through something they believe they can’t talk about? If we don’t really know our nearest and dearest, what awful secrets must strangers hide?

Rachel Storme is honest, dedicated, and relentless in her pursuit of justice for the victim. She shows empathy towards those hurt by the crime and an understanding of human motivation. She doesn’t need her gun or fists most of the time to solve the crime or to get potential perpetrators to talk. She is quick in her assessments and organizes her team well. She has a good ‘gut’ for hunches, too, knowing things aren’t always as cut and dry as they seem. Rachel Storme is a heroine with class.

The plot is very good. I love that the mystery is set against a backdrop of political backstabbing and office politics, giving us many possibilities for the killer’s identity. As information was gained and the net kept widening, it was enjoyable to try to piece together the enigma and solve the crime, traveling the journey with Storme.

I very much enjoyed A Penny For Her Heart. I’d recommend this book to lovers of the mystery genre.

This book is available at A Penny For Her Heart.

Other books by Alretha Thomas include:

Justice for Jessica

Losing Lauren

Four Ladies Only

Missing Melissa

Married in the Nick of Time

The Baby in the Window

One Harte, Two Loves

Renee’s Return

Book Description:

Vanessa Johnson Rossi’s dream is to work in the White House. Not as the leader of the free world, but as chief of staff, overseeing the executive office of the president. As an assistant working at Buderwood Hills City Hall, she finds herself getting closer to realizing her dream when a plum position becomes available that would put her a step closer working directly for the mayor who has personal connections to the White House. But Vanessa’s hopes are dashed when her best friend, Penelope Newhouse, lands the coveted job. However, when Vanessa discovers Penelope murdered less than a hundred feet from the office she dreamed of occupying, her disappointment turns into devastation.

Detective Rachel Storme and her team are put on the case and she soon finds herself delving into the underbelly of politics in search of the killer. The clues point to a litany of suspects, including the mayor. As usual, Detective Storme is determined to solve this case—a case so chock-full of dark and sinister twists and turns, it has her questioning her own competence.

Author Biography:

About the Author
Shortly after graduating from USC with a degree in journalism, Alretha soon realized her interest in her major was not heartfelt. Instead of writing news stories, she wanted to write plays and books. Several years later, her church gave her an outlet to fulfill her writing desires through their Liturgical Fine Arts Department wherein Alretha penned twelve theatre pieces—the community response was overwhelming. This led to plays outside of the church, including Alretha’s “One, Woman Two Lives,” starring Kellita Smith (The Bernie Mac Show), directed by four-time NAACP Image Award Best Director recipient, Denise Dowse. The production garnered rave reviews from critics and audiences. In between plays, Alretha’s first novel, “Daughter Denied,” was launched in 2008 and in 2011, Alretha launched “Dancing Her Dreams Away.” Her third novel, “Married in the Nick of Nine,” was launched in 2012 and spawned a four-book standalone series affectionately known as the Cass & Nick Series. In 2014, Soul Mate Publishing acquired all four books. In 2014 Alretha’s indie novel, “Four Ladies Only,” was awarded the Jessie Redman Fauset Fiction Award. In 2016, Alretha launched the Detective Rachel Storme series. The first standalone book in the series is “Justice for Jessica,” and the second book is “Losing Lauren.” “A Penny For Her Heart” is Alretha’s eleventh novel and the third standalone book in the Detective Rachel Storme series.


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