Police procedural Cause of Death is the first mystery / thriller for author Renee Benzaim, and the first entry in the Det. Annie Avants series.
This exciting book is fast-paced, easy to follow, with engaging characters and a highly suspenseful storyline. I couldn't put it down. I didn't put it down, and read it straight through in a day. I just had to find out whodunit!
The story is told from alternating points of view of different characters, including Annie, the victims, and even the perpetrator. The reader knows, from the beginning, how the murders are committed, but not why or by whom. The reader is with each victim, as she is nabbed by the perp. The reader is with the detectives, as they pursue their leads and hit dead-ends. The author includes several red herrings to mislead the reader, and a dead goldfish, so beware.
As one would expect in the first book in the Det. Annie Avants series, Annie is the main character, and a very likable one at that. Annie's part is well written, with enough back-story for the reader to really get to know her. The relationships between Annie and her friends / co-workers are complex and interesting, due to the back-stories the author reveals about the other characters.
I look forward to reading more about Annie and company in future books in the series. The eBook edition of Damage Control, the second book in the series, is expected to be published by 8/30/13, and the paperback edition by 9/15/13. I rated Cause of Death five stars. I give it my highest recommendation, for anyone who enjoys police procedural mysteries or suspense / thrillers.