REVIEW: Crossed by CJ Graves

Title: Crossed (A Jayden Morrow Mystery)

Author: CJ Graves

ISBN: 9781476377179

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Rating: 3 1/2 stars

Book synopsis from Goodreads: Safe life in a small town just got dangerous.

Jayden Morrow moves to Grasshopper Hill, NC and becomes a private investigator expecting life to be safe. After dodging bombs in Iraq as an MP, cheating husbands and insurance fraud seem like a walk in the demilitarized zone. But when a young girl is found murdered at a local Christian rock concert, Jayden’s military instincts kick in, and any hope for peace and quiet blows up in her face.

The case plunges her into the midst of a powerful church family. Hirshel Lightner, the head pastor, tries to crush her investigation. Even worse, Jayden finds herself attracted to Hirshel’s son-in-law, Adam–a man who could be the killer. If Jayden isn’t careful, she might be the next victim.

Originally I wanted to read this book because of the main character’s first name. Jayden is also my older daughter’s name. Tenuous connection to be reading a book on, but I’ve done worse. Mystery isn’t always my favorite genre, but this book was worth reading.

I loved the main character, Jayden Morrow. I felt she was well-fleshed out, human and believable. She’s a former Army MP with a tour of duty in Iraq under her belt. Instead of being the GI Jane with no heart that I was afraid she would end up being, I found her to be intelligent, sassy, and self-sufficient. Tough but she had her edges smoothed out enough to be believably female. The best part had to be the last fight scene.

The side characters that I hope we’ll be seeing in next installments are the two neighbors: Miss Mildred, the elderly neighbor, and the young girl Catie Conell. I want to see more of them, and I especially want to see how Jayden’s presence helps Catie grow into a stong future woman, which you see hints of in Catie’s Halloween costume. Another side character that I’d like to see more of is Max, but he could either stay or go. There wasn’t really enough heat between Max and Jayden to make me want hem to start or continue as a possible couple.

The story was interesting, with enough twists to keep me guessing up until the end.  The only  downside of it was that there needs to be some slight editting of the wording of the scenes. There’s one between Adam and Jayden towards the last 1/3 of the book where the word “you’re” is used instead of “your” a number of times. It wasn’t enough to throw me off completely from the book, but it would be nice to see that changed.


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