Review: The Juan Doe Murders: A Smokey Brandon Thriller by Noreen Ayres

Title: The Juan Doe Murders
Author: Noreen Ayres
Pages: 304
Published: Sep. 2, 2014
Publisher: Brash Books
Genre: Crime Thriller/murder
Review: ebook provided by NetGalley and the publisher Brash Books

“Tough, hip, visceral and lusty.” – Kirkus Reviews

Someone is killing illegal, Hispanic immigrants and leaving their bodies strewn like trash across Orange County, the playground of Southern California’s rich and privileged. But the murders go largely unnoticed, the anonymous, “Juan Doe” victims as invisible in death as they were in their hidden lives, toiling in low-wage jobs serving the wealthy…. until forensics specialist Samantha “Smokey” Brandon sees the gruesome pattern.

“A swift descent into sunburned decadence.” – Booklist

Smokey is an ex-cop and former Las Vegas stripper, a childless widow who has seen a lot of death in her job. But it hasn’t dimmed her compassion or dedication. These victims aren’t invisible to her. She won’t stop until she finds the killer, even if it means confronting her darkest demons and sacrificing herself to them.

“Moody, rich, impressive…the most distinctive new crime professional since Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta.” - Washington Post

I received this book via NetGalley to give an honest review. 3.5 stars.
I saw the title of the book and that is what caught my attention I didn't even read the blurb to this book and that is something that I normally don't do. I have to say after reading the blurb I know that Smokey is a female. For the longest time I kept wondering if Smokey was a male or female and though it wasn't a big thing it drove me crazy.
Now I see this book is part of series but it does good as a stand alone so it doesn't seem you miss anything from not reading the previous books. 
Smokey is a crime technician and now she is trying to put together the pieces of what connects all these people that seem to be possibly Hispanic. While she is trying to put the puzzle together she also is trying to help out her I believe boyfriend Joe's son David and what he is going through. 
David seems to be harboring a secret and when it finally comes out it seems what he knows can help solve who the victims of the crime are. 
There is some action not a lot, but the author was very detailed in telling us what was going on. Especially inside the ME's room. I learned some things that I never knew before such as one of them being lighting a paper towel to let the gas be released inside of  a body. That was very cool fact to add into the book.
Though the story line was good and I believe I will pick up more books from this author, the character Smokey was not one I connected with. Even though I think the job she has is freaking amazing she felt very flat for me. 
I also though the way she would talk to David about his problem that he had going on didn't feel real enough for me. It was like she didn't know what to say to him I suppose? When you read the book the dialogue between them two characters you may know what I mean.
There is some romance but nothing that takes away from the murders or crime solving of what is going on. Nothing is really too gruesome in the book being as there is not graphic detail of the murders but you do get an idea.

Noreen Ayres
Noreen Ayres has published novels, short stories, and poetry, and has had three teleplays produced, winning several awards for writing. Her varied career includes positions as a technical writer and publications manager for major engineering, petroleum, and aerospace companies. Holding a Masters degree in English and post-grad certifications in business, she has taught composition, creative writing, business, and science.

Her spirit is indomitable. An example of this is, "I once received an odd personal rejection I didn't appreciate then but gave me hope once I thought about it. During a job interview which included an IQ test, the boss said he wouldn’t hire me because I was too smart. I'd be wasting my time at his shop. He said to keep going to school, that I’d be successful somehow, in something."

Her story of perseverance is told in a book whose title says it all: UNSTOPPABLE. Her story is featured alongside such notable figures as Paul Orfalea, the founder of Kinko’s, Millard and Linda Fuller, the founders of Habitat for Humanity, performer Joan Rivers, and a host of others.


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