Book Review · Books

Book Review: The Sleeping Beauty Killer (Under Suspicion #4)

Synopsis

“Fifteen years after being convicted of murdering her fiancé—the famed philanthropist Hunter Raleigh III—Casey Carter is determined to clear her name. Though she has served her time, she finds that she is still living under suspicion. Going on the true crime show Under Suspicion seems to be her only hope to prove her innocence.

The show’s producer, Laurie Moran, also believes in her innocence and wants to help Casey. But with Alex Buckley taking a break from the show—cooling his potential romance with Laurie—Under Suspicion introduces a new on-air host in Ryan Nichols, a hot shot legal whiz with a Harvard Law degree, a Supreme Court clerkship, experience as a federal prosecutor. Ryan has no problems with steering the show, and even tries to stop Laurie from taking on Casey’s case because he’s so certain she’s guilty. An egomaniacal new boss, a relentless gossip columnist, and Casey’s longstanding bad reputation: Laurie must face this and more to do what she believes is right, to once and for all prove Casey’s innocence—that is, if she’s innocent.”

-Synopsis from Goodreads

Review

*spoilers ahead*

This is hands-down my favorite Under Suspicion novel so far!

As soon as Casey Carter is released from prison, she contacts Laurie Moran in the hopes that she will take on her case for her true crime show. Even after fifteen years, Casey is adamant that she did not murder Hunter Raleigh III and is determined to clear her name.

“The defendant. For three weeks, everyone in this courtroom had referred to her as “the defendant.” Not Casey. Not her given name, Katherine Carter. Certainly not Mrs. Hunter Raleigh III, the name she would have taken by now if everything had been different. In this room, she’d been treated as a legal term, not as a real person, a person who had loved Hunter more deeply than she’d ever thought possible.”

Laurie believes that Casey may actually be innocent, and agrees to take on her case. With the help of all the notes and details from Casey’s trial, Laurie and her team start to piece together the story of what happened that night. They each have their own opinion as to whether or not Casey is innocent, and they are aware that they may not uncover any new information, which would mean Casey’s reputation would be in limbo for the rest of her life.

Witnesses and Suspects

The first thing Casey does is give Laurie a list of five names of people she thinks may have killed Hunter. Casey has spent the last fifteen years in her jail cell reviewing the evidence from her trail, and she is convinced that each of these five suspects had both the motive and the opportunity, therefore it must be one of them.

Among those suspects are her fiancé’s brother, Andrew, a socialite named Gabrielle who was smitten with Hunter, Casey’s ex-boyfriend, Jason, Hunter’s father’s assistant Mary Jane, and a disgruntled former employee named Mark, who left the family company under mysterious circumstance. All were present the night Hunter was murdered, and Casey’s belief is that one of them drugged her by putting a date rape pill in her drink, and then sneaking into the house late at night and murdering Hunter.

Laurie uses Casey’s notes to start her investigation, but she also turns to the police who first investigated the murder, and they have a different story to tell her. They reveal all the evidence that points to Casey being the one with motive and opportunity to murder Hunter. Everyone they interview after that paints a conflicting image of Casey than the one she presents to Laurie. Which one of them is lying? Soon, Laurie is questioning Casey’s innocence, too, and wonders whether she was too quick to judge her the first time around.

Drama Online

Meanwhile, a reporter for an online gossip column keeps leaking information related to Laurie’s investigation. The reporter reveals confidential information that only someone close to the investigation would know. Who is feeding her the information, and why are they trying to undermine Laurie and the show?

Casey tells Laurie about comments on recent news stories about her that are troublesome. Someone with the username RIP_Hunter has been leaving comments that insist they know Casey is guilty. The comments have shown up online periodically for the last fifteen years. They are noteworthy enough that Laurie starts investigating them too. She hopes that they can track down who this anonymous person is and determine if they are genuine in their knowledge that Casey is guilty, or if they are just an online troll looking to stir up trouble.

There are a lot of red herrings in this story, and yet somehow I was able to guess the ending! Well, half of it. Early on in the book I had my suspicions about who the killer was, and I turned out to be right.

What I didn’t guess was that curve ball ending with Alex! Whoa. That’s when I had to immediately order the next book – I can’t wait to find out what he’s up to!

Goodreads rating: Five stars

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