28 March 2016

Review #381: The Secret Life of Anna Blanc by Jennifer Kincheloe

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.”

----Arthur Conan Doyle

Jennifer Kincheloe, an award-wining American author, has penned a terrific and heart-wrenching tale, The Secret Life of Anna Blanc that unfolds the story of Anna Blanc, a socialite-turned-secret-cop, who investigates a series of murders of some prostitutes that has been hidden up under the piles by the police department. Anna grabs the opportunity to solve the case and identify the killer, before words get out to her dominating father that she has been running here and there in the city as a cop.


It's 1907 Los Angeles. Mischievous socialite Anna Blanc could match wits with Sherlock Holmes, but in her world women are not allowed to hunt criminals. Determined to break free of the era's rigid social roles, she buys off the chaperon assigned by her domineering father and, using an alias, takes a job as a police matron with the Los Angeles Police Department. There she discovers a string of brothel murders, which the cops are covering up. Seizing her one chance to solve a crime, she takes on the investigation herself.

If the police find out, she'll get fired; if her father finds out, he'll disown her; and if her fiancé finds out, he'll cancel the wedding.

Anna must choose--either hunt the villain and risk losing her father, fiancé, and wealth, or abandon her dream and leave the killer on the loose.

Anna Blanc is the upper-class socialite who is engaged to an educated serviceman. Anna has been forever lived in the shadows of her dominating father who has a reputation in the society. One day while out on shopping with her chaperon, Anna unwilling becomes a part of suffragette protests, thus intriguing her to break free from her boundaries and do something which she has always loved- being Sherlock Holmes. Her wish comes true when she gets a job at the Los Angeles Police Department and it is her secret job. On her role, Anna lands herself up on some covered-up brothel murders and thus she begins her secret investigation. She needs to hurry up and find the killer before her father gets to know about her adventure outside his home and his fiance breaks off the engagement to her. Little did she knew that she would be opening up the cases of some scandalous murders and that she would get so tangle up that it will become life threatening.

The author's writing is fantastic and is laced with gripping suspense. The narrative is enthralling an d kept me hooked till the end of the book. Ann's narrative is descriptive as well as expressive and it allows the readers to ponder into the deep corners of her mind. The mystery is thick in the atmosphere and as the story progresses, it gets twisted and complicated with unexpected turn of events. The mystery is at times accompanied by passionate chemistry that made the tale delectable. The story moves at a medium pace.

The setting is exquisitely portrayed in the background of this story. The author has vividly captured the time and the location with her eloquent words. The setting of Los Angeles is played out charmingly as the author depicts the fashion, politics, the society and everything into her story. The era of suffragettes is well captured into this story and has an impactful role in the story. While reading I was easily transported back in time when almost everything was prohibited for a woman to have an independent living.

The characters are delightful and interesting. The main character, Anna, is rich, spoilt and someone who wants to break free of her father's domination. She uses people for her own benefit, has an attitude and this is what annoyed me a bit until she evolved into someone thoughtful on the journey to find the rapist and a murderer. The supporting cast is equally well-developed.

There is seedy and passionate chemistry between two characters of this book which will make the atmosphere sexy and wild and the scenes are described with lots of details. As for me, the romance could have been limited, rather than the story could have only revolved around the mystery and the killer.

Overall, this is an entertaining as well as compelling historical thriller that will keep the readers engrossed into the tale till the very last page.

Verdict: Mystery lovers should not miss this one!

Courtesy: Thanks to the author, Jennifer Kincheloe, for giving me an opportunity to read and review her book.

Author Info:
Jennifer Kincheloe is a research scientist turned writer of historical mysteries. Her first novel, "The Secret Life of Anna Blanc," is the winner of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writer's Colorado Gold Award for mysteries, and will be published by Seventh Street books in November, 2015. Jennifer is a Southern California native who currently lives with her husband and children in Denver, Colorado. She is busy writing books two and three in the Anna Blanc series.
Visit her here

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