“When former forensic photographer Miranda Rhoads moves to the seaside town of Lost Beach, she’s decided to make her living as a nature photographer and put crime scenes behind her. But her plans are quickly upended when one morning she comes across a couple sleeping in a canoe, entwined in an embrace. Looking more closely, she realizes the man and woman aren’t asleep – they’ve been murdered.
Detective Joel Breda sets out to find answers – not only about the unidentified victims at the marshy death scene, but also about the aloof and beautiful photographer who seems to know more about his investigation than he does.
As they begin to unravel the motivation of a merciless serial killer, Miranda and Joel must race against the clock to make an arrest before the killer can find them first.”
-Synopsis from back of the book
*light spoilers ahead*
Flight is book two in The Texas Murder Files series. Miranda Rhoads (sister of Bailey Rhoads who was in book one, Hidden) has come to the fictional seaside town of Lost Beach for an extended break from her career as a forensic photographer. The reader doesn’t immediately know what made Miranda want to leave San Antonio, only that something happened in her career that she needed to get away from.
“Forensic work was high stakes, the very highest. Not like nature photograph. In police work, if you missed your shot, you didn’t get another one. The possibility of failure was always there, swirling beneath the surface like a current ready to pull you under. She’d been pulled under before.”from Flight (The Texas Murder Files #2) by Laura Griffin
Miranda’s current assignment as a nature photographer is to document various birds for an upcoming calendar for a birding association.
“Living near the water was a balm to her soul, and she felt grateful every day that the calendar project had come through. She’d needed a change. Not just a change, a lifeline, and the photography project had given it to her. It wouldn’t last forever, but for now, the modest income and change of scenery were exactly what she wanted. It allowed her to procrastinate, to put off the decisions that had been weighing on her for months.”from Flight (Texas Murder Files #2) by Laura Griffin
One morning when Miranda is out taking photos of a great blue heron, she comes across an abandoned canoe that, as the synopsis alludes, has two murder victims inside.
Miranda proves herself to be an asset to the Lost Peach Police Department when she offers her professional advice as to how they should preserve the crime scene. Detective Joel Breda knows that someone with Miranda’s skill and expertise is hard to come by in a small town, and he works to convince her to join their investigation on a temporary basis.
Right off the bat, the case proves to be challenging. Without being able to identify the victims, there is very little to go off beyond the strange, almost posed, position the victims were found in, and the seemingly random feather that was placed between them. Joel and his team spend much of their time trying to piece together the victim’s last whereabouts to find out what they were doing in Lost Beach.
Miranda’s skill and knowledge come in handy in more ways than one, especially when it comes to the bird feather. Did it randomly fall into the boat after the victims died, or could it be a calling card from the killer? I don’t want to give away too much about this but the way the feather is involved in the story at large was fascinating.
The ending was very suspenseful as Miranda is involved in discovering the truth behind the murders. It was not at all what I was expecting, in the best way.
Something that I loved about this book was the cast of characters on the Lost Beach PD, including Nicole, Emmet, Owen, and Calvin. I kept thinking that I would love to see Nicole star in her own story, as she was a rookie detective in Flight and just starting to get her feet wet; I hope she has a significant role in the next book!
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a compelling mystery with lots of twists and turns, with romantic plots interwoven in the story. It was a great read and a solid follow up to Hidden, which I would also recommend.