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Dead Against Her


Dead Against Her

DEAD AGAINST HER, the fifth installment in Melinda Leigh’s Bree Taggert series, is just as riveting and touching as the previous four. Bree is a tough female sheriff in a rural upstate New York community who was born to an abusive father. When her sister, Erin, was murdered, she returned to her roots to raise Erin’s children with the help of her now-retired ex-partner, Dana Romano.

"DEAD AGAINST HER fulfills readers' expectations on multiple levels: it's exciting, emotional and intellectually thoughtful."

This time, a double homicide is only the beginning of Bree’s troubles. Eugene Oscar, a former deputy who hated Bree, is found murdered, along with his mother. Shortly thereafter, deep-fake videos and pornographic photos appear that have been Photoshopped to include Bree’s face with the aim of discrediting her. Local media has a field day expressing their faux shock, completely ignoring her insistance that they are not real. During the course of the investigation, evidence links the victim and some of the suspects to a local militia group. Not uncommon in such pseudo-military groups is a propensity for violence and extreme misogyny.

Reading the books in this series is wonderful on many levels. The murder mystery is always well done and thrilling, there is lots of action, and the characters are well developed and authentically imperfect. But Leigh also addresses some of the challenges that women face during these occasionally trying times. Females in positions of power understand what Bree goes through as she encounters deputies who hate working for a woman, undermine her authority, and leak information that is to her detriment. Other women have been the subject of deep-fake videos and received hate letters and emails with pornographic images and horrifying threats. We see how biased some media can be in reporting such issues, choosing to share information without verifying any of it.

While this fifth entry does work as a stand-alone novel, there is much character development that happens throughout the series. Those opting not to read all the books are missing out on seeing how clever Leigh's writing is as she develops Bree’s relationships with her niece and nephew; her deputies; and Matt Flynn, a former deputy who now consults with the sheriff's office, along with his K-9, Brody. In short, DEAD AGAINST HER fulfills readers' expectations on multiple levels: it's exciting, emotional and intellectually thoughtful.

Reviewed by Pamela Kramer on July 29, 2022

Dead Against Her
by Melinda Leigh

  • Publication Date: May 17, 2022
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 303 pages
  • Publisher: Montlake
  • ISBN-10: 1542030625
  • ISBN-13: 9781542030625