Official Stuff –
Author – Nikki M. Pill
Publisher – Amazon Digital Services
Pages – 168
Series – Darling Killer Trilogy
Anna Zendel: suspended therapist by day, retired burlesque performer and reluctant troupe director Velvet Crush by night, 24/7 single young woman trying desperately to escape the press and her own PTSD.
Now that the alleged Darling Killer is in a coma, Anna reinvents the Chicago Cabaret as an edgy and diverse burlesque experience. Audiences cheer in sold-out shows for the familiar faces and the new… but Velvet won’t set foot on stage anymore.
Just as the new show takes off, Anna receives a gory new message on a troupe member’s body: keep performing and they live.
Anna’s stage training and psychological savvy arm her for another deadly dance, but a series of sinister accidents threaten the survival of everyone she loves while a killer watches her from the wings.
My Rating – 4 Stars
I received a digital copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
The Grind is the second book in the Darling Killer Trilogy. This review will contain spoilers about the previous book.
When we last left Anna, she had put Grant in a coma after being attacked, been suspended from her job for breaking confidentiality on a patient that was highly suspicious, and became leader of her burlesque troupe. The police want to believe that Grant was the Darling Killer, but Anna has her doubts.
But the show must go on and the troupe is set to start performing again, sans Anna because she can’t anymore, it’s no longer the fun escape that it used to be. Opening night is amazing, everything goes off without a hitch, until Anna received a disturbing phone call, Grant has died from his head injury but the cops were never able to question him.
Her fears are increased when one of her troupe members is attacked (but left alive!) and painted with a message “Keep performing and they live.” Listening to advice of the Detectives, the troupe cancels their next performance, and this causes the Darling Killer to react. Anna is forced to start performing again, to protect the members of her troupe.
I liked this book just as much as the first one. Anna is a very strong woman for all she’s been through. She manages to keep going every day and she constantly worries about the safety of her family and friends. She’s tried hard to not let the killer win, she continues to do the things she loves. I admire that in a character.
The book also highlights her PTSD, which I loved. So many times in books a character goes through a traumatic experience and the effects of it are afterthoughts or not accurately described at all (this happens a lot in YA books, mental illness isn’t always described correctly or well. It is a pet peeve of mine). You really feel Anna’s anxiety and helplessness. Honestly, if I were in Anna’s position I’d probably be scared to death to ever leave my house and she is trying to open a new studio and has plans to open up a shelter for women. Go Anna!
I also loved that I still have NO CLUE who the Killer could be. I don’t trust any of the characters! None of them! As soon as I think I’ve got it figured out another character does something borderline creepy and I’m like “ohh. It could be him!”
Anyway, if you like whodunit books, this book is short, sweet, and to the point. I think you’ll enjoy!