Hanging Softly in the Night

Hanging Softly in the Night

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New York Police Department’s Sixteenth Precinct in Manhattan is under siege by the flu, and Detective Nick Larson and his partner, Detective Victor Sacco, are up to their armpits with work overload. The captain’s cigar is seriously chewed, and everyone is working around the clock. To complicate matters, on a personal level, things aren’t going smoothly, either. Laura Howard, the woman Nick loves, is also having issues with a psycho twin sister who is doing everything to ruin Laura’s business and her life.

Then Nick’s captain assigns a new case, a suicide. From the moment Nick steps on scene, however, something doesn’t feel quite right, especially when, upon investigating the case further, the supposed suicide looks more and more like an actual homicide. Immediately, Nick’s instincts kick into gear, but rev into overdrive when similar, questionable suicides pop up around the area. And with the way things have been going lately, it would just be Nick’s luck to have a serial killer on the loose.

Set in New York City, Hanging Softly in the Night is a story of murder, mental illness, determination, dedication, perseverance, and, ultimately, justice.

Great plot twists and turns. Kept my interest all the way through the book. Definitely would read another Detective Nick Larson novel!

Excellent by Amazon Customer on February 20, 2023

Hanging Softly in the Night by Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra is about Nick Larson, a detective for the 16th precinct of the NYPD. Despite being overburdened with work and personal issues, the detective is determined to solve a suspicious case that appears to be death by suicide, but some peculiarities can’t be ignored. During a difficult time when a flu epidemic ravages the precinct and recent trauma plagues the detective, Nick realizes there may be a serial killer on the loose. He and his partner, Victor Sacco, embark on a mission to solve a mystery.

Alonso-Sierra has crafted a story that is equally intriguing and chilling, with unexpected developments, set in New York City. As more murders crop up, appearing as suicide deaths, the plot becomes more riveting, with sharp-witted characters, backstories, and an unraveling case that keeps you turning one page after another.

I thoroughly enjoyed the complexity of Nick’s history and how his experiences contribute to the story. This book is an action-packed thriller with plenty of suspense and unexpected plot twists that make it impossible to put down. I liked the dynamic between Nick and his partner, Victor, as they raided the city, looking for answers. The book also covers many important aspects vital to the story and relatable to many, such as mental illness and past traumatic experiences, with great care and compassion.

The author’s writing style is descriptive and visual, without dragging the story while keeping a good pace throughout. Hanging Softly in the Night by Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra is an exciting read, and it was impossible not to be enraptured by its riveting storyline.

Intriguing and chilling by Literary Titan Reviews on February 14, 2023

Manhattan’s 16th precinct seems to be crippled by flu and men are short so when partners Nick and Victor get given a case, it looks like an open and shut case but it’s too far from it ….

It looks like suicide but it’s murder and with the body count piling up and personal matters my nerves are shattered on behalf of these 2 🫣If you like a fast paced book, be patient, you will be rewarded, I promise 😉

I was pretty much hooked from the get go ❣️📕 and a lot of effort was put into research for this, well it seems that way, but all in all a thrilling read 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Thrilling Read by Heidi Sturgess on January 29, 2023

As an avid lover of psychological thrillers, I jumped on this book immediately. The story is fast paced and filled with twists and turns. You’ll find it impossible to put it down. Nick Larson, your MC, is the detective that you are rooting for from the very first page, who is likable and relatable yet has a history that you find yourself digging into. I loved that the story focused on his love life and how it intertwined with his work. This is the first I’ve read by this author and I was not disappointed. I will definitely be looking into more books by this author. 

Must Read Thriller! By Crystal McConnell on December 24, 2022

Wow. Talk about a page turner! From the first sentence I was hooked. Hanging Softly in the Night was one of the most intense murder mysteries that I’ve read in a while. It keeps your interest throughout the book. Nick is a complex character. Dealing with his case, his love life and the guilt he felt regarding his ex-wife’s suicide brought so much realness to the character. The author did a fantastic job playing on the audience’s emotions. Highly recommend! 

Suicide, murder, Nick Larson by Amber Howard on December 23, 2022

A murder mystery with engaging characters and a suspense filled plot. I was hooked on the step-by-step of investigation by Detective Larson and the complexity of his life. Each character is fleshed out with careful thought, as well as how they fit in the story. The gripping thriller of a serial killer transfixes the reader to the page. I love how the author gave the reader all of the acronyms at the beginning to help understand the lingo! This is the first time I’ve read anything by this author, and I look forward to more!

Unique murder mystery by Brandy Vaughn on December 22, 2022

Hanging Softly in the Night was an intriguing detective-led thriller with multiple layers of overlapping storylines that had me intrigued throughout the entire story. Detective Nick Larson and partner Victor Sacco had the type of banter you imagine all New York City detectives to have with one another and were armed with intellect, experience and insight.

Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra has a gripping writing style that takes the reader into the role of NYC detective and keeps you wanting more. Great story progression- I very much look forward to reading the next Detective Nick Larson story! 

Intriguing by Sharon on December 22, 2022

If you like tv shows like CSI, SVU, and Criminal minds this book is for you! This is certainly a thriller mystery worth reading.

I really appreciated the different layers of this book. The way this was written certainly had me fully hooked from page one until the end.
I enjoyed the characters and they were well developed throughout the book.
I surely recommend this book. 

A great thriller mystery by Erin Deroma on December 22, 2022

This is the best kind of detective novel. The time where the pressure comes jumping of the page. The kind that is fast paced and filled with twists and turns. The kind that you don’t want to put down until it is done. The kind with a hero who has a backstory and who is slightly damaged and has a complicated life. Nick Larson is definitely the detective that you are rooting for from the very first page, who is likable and relatable. I loved that this also focused on his love life and I loved his demeanor. I definitely want to read more from him and also more by this author!

A Major Page Turner by Christine on December 22, 2022

I haven’t picked up a detective novel in a while but I am so glad I came across this one! Very realistic descriptions, interesting characters and surprises at every turn! I found Hanging Softly in the Night to be a very captivating story and very refreshing to the previous detective stories I have read. This book brought to light how people can be very secretive about so many things in their life and yet show a very different persona to the world! I loved being on the edge of my seat and not wanting to stop reading just to know what the detectives find next. This was a very riveting book to read and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a good mystery to solve.

Riveting by Noor Jivraj on December 22, 2022

Hanging Softly in the Night by Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra is the first book to the Detective Nick Larson series and the first book I have read by this author. Nick Larson and Victor Sacco are investing what a quick glance might deem as a suicide, but with some skilled detective work, it is obvious to the investigators that ‘suicide’ does not quite fit the crime scene. It looks too neat to the detectives. And then more and more cases start emerging. Nick cannot help but believe it is all interconnected somehow. During all of this, Nick is also trying to work through the haunting loss of his ex-wife. He wants to make space for his new interest, Laura, who is also going through some very difficult things herself. 

I am surprised how much I really enjoyed this story! It seemed like it took a very long time for the plot to really take off. But once it did, I had a difficult time putting this down. The author does a fantastic job weaving together this mystery combined with very likable main characters. Highly recommend if you enjoy a good crime mystery mixed with romance.

Lots of crime and detective work by Katie Turner on December 22, 2022

This author delivers! The moody and broody detective is the male protagonist. His tortured-by-a-psycho-family-member neighbor is the female protagonist. A murderer is loose in the Big Apple, wreaking havoc. Sparks fly, and suspense abounds, but will the heroes be able to overcome their own psyches in order to take a chance on a new beginning together?

Moody and Broody by Alison Risher on December 22, 2022

Suspenseful thriller w/ a side of romance. This is a kind of book you will not put down till it’s over. A town being infiltrated by suicides but are they truly suicides? Detective nick has a hunch that there’s foul play involved. From that point it’s a roller coaster of novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat! This is my first novel by this author and will certainly not be my last!

Murder mystery romance thriller? By Ana Eve (: on December 21, 2022

A multi-layer detective story with several side-plots and twists. Detective Nick Larson teams up with his partner, Detective Victor Sacco to help solve a string of “suicides” that are popping up around them. It starts out with the first victim was found hanging, with no signs of violence, but not suspected to be a suicide. After other similar “suicides” pop up, the duo thinks they are dealing with a serial killer. While this is all happening, Nick is still coping with the suicide of his ex-wife and his newly budding romance towards Laura. Laura is also coping with from losing her own husband, at the hands of her own twin sister that she never realized she had…There is so much going on with this story that it is always interesting and intriguing, but at times overwhelming. With a perfect balance of suspense and romance, I couldn’t put this book down, and really enjoyed the unique storyline with familiar whodunit vibes.

A unique story with familiar vibes by Amanda Swindle on December 21, 2022

Detective Nick Larson and his partner, Detective Victor Sacco, seem to be one of only a few cops that have not been hit with the flu at the 16th Precinct in Manhattan. This means that they are under a heavy workload that requires them working around the clock. The stress is bad enough from work but on top of that Nick is also having issues in his personal life.

When Nick’s boss hands him a case that seems like a straightforward case of suicide Nick cannot help but feel like something is not right. When similar cases pop up Nick begins to feel like this is a homicide and not a suicide. Nick is beginning to suspect that there might be a serial killer on the loose.

This book was action-packed from the first few pages. The characters were intriguing, and the storyline stood out as being different and interesting. It is obvious that the author did her research because of the attention to detail in the characters and the storyline. I look forward to reading another Nick Larson mystery.

Action-packed by Tara Johnson on December 21, 2022

First thing- I loved that the author gave us all the codes at the start to help understand. This book was amazing, full of twists and turns.

Detective Nick and Victor get handed a case, suicide? But with all the clues it definitely seems like it’s something else. Will they be able to solve the case. Who was out for the victim? Laura Howard is a cake whiz, even though she’s still dealing with her crazy twin- but she’s in prison but still making Laura’s life hell. Laura and Nick are still trying to figure out where they are going. If they are going to start a relationship or be friends. Can they make it work between Nick’s case, and Laura’s twin?

Twists and turns by Tori Mitton on December 21, 2022

Hanging Softly in the Night is a strangely morbid title, knowing what happens in this book. However it works, and I didn’t expect to make that kind of connection when jumping into this book. Wonderfully written this book makes you think. A puzzle to be solved. Striving to connect the smallest of dots to figure it all out. That’s what makes it intriguing. With a little romance thrown in.

Nick was finally reinstated to full duty after living through the suicide and guilt that comes with it of his ex-wife. When responding to a call only to discover it’s a woman death by suicide. Well at least that is how it appears. After autopsy and interviews his gut is telling him this is bigger than that. That this isn’t actually a suicide, but how can he prove it, when all the evidence and interviews keep leading to a deadend.

Then there is Laura, a woman he cares deeply about. Who’s twin sister is crazy and out to ruin her life. How can he protect her and do his job? He wants to be with her but is hesitant since he can’t always be there. Now there’s a chance that her sister may be able to access her more easily, despite restraining orders.

A subplot that I definitely followed. A subplot that made me wonder if she was connected to the main plot. Nick’s the one who landed her behind bars, why wouldn’t she want to play with him? People who are borderline psychotic and out for revenge enjoy games like that.

The author wrote Nick in a way despite everything he’s very level headed. He wants to do his job and do it right. He wants to protect Laura and do it right.

Is he able to close his cases and protect her?

Does he end up having a lapse in judgment?

Those were just some of the questions that came to mind that I wanted answered while reading.

If you enjoy a great crime novel, that gets you really thinking. This book is absolutely for you!

Keeps you on your toes! by Beverly Finnie on December 20, 2022

A suicide turns out to be a homicide, and as more people start dying, Detective Nick Larson finds himself hurrying to catch the murderer’s trail and connect the dots before they get away with their crimes. A gritty crime novel, Hanging Softly in the Night showcases the psychology of its characters in a brilliant way. From victims to killer to Detective Nick Larson himself, Alonso-Sierra weaves the intricacies of the human mind and human desires together in a way that pulls the reader into a well-plotted crime mystery. Good pacing makes it easy to stay engaged in the story, and use of police and investigation terms make the fictional New York City 16th precinct feel realistic. Hanging Softly in the Night leaves you with the eerie thrill of wondering who you can trust and who…will leave you hanging.

Book Excellence on Sept. 14, 2022

I totally enjoyed reading this novel and felt like I was right there with the detectives during the entire murder investigation. The book must have been very thoroughly researched. The murderer reveal turned out to be a nice twist and one I didn’t see coming. I look forward to reading more by this author.

I do not usually go for thrillers, but as I got into this I could not help but think that it was as good as any commercially published police mystery that I have read – well written, researched, atmospheric locations and well drawn characters – easily on a par with Kathy Reichs and Louise Penny. I spotted the likely killer as soon as he came into the narrative – not based on any deep thought processes – just a gut feeling!!!!

Attention-catching from the beginning, a multi-layered story which I found both gripping and interesting. Written mainly in the vernacular, set in New York, the author portrayed fleshed-out characters, relationships and camaraderie of the policemen and women, concentrating on the central character who has issues of his own, closely related to the suicides/murders which he is investigating. Despite tabling the abbreviations for police work and other matters at the beginning of the book I found it a bit tiresome, especially reading on Kindle, but in fact one could skip several abbreviated references because the context made it clear. The love interest is just enough, not overwhelming the dedication of the detective’s work, and the although some of the technology went over my head, it was interesting to follow the leads which each department followed to bring the story to a culmination. Good reading, and although I haven’t read the prequel, I assume that the sister of Nick’s girlfriend will have a role in the next book – assuming one is planned! Otherwise, her part in this story doesn’t fit well, is just attached in brief mentions which are not resolved. A very absorbing read.

INDIEBRAG It was amazing on Sept. 13, 2022 – B.R.A.G. Award Medallion Winner

This book took too long to set up the plot of NYPD’s Detective Nick Larson’s hunt for a serial killer who is staging his murder scenes as suicides. The pace picked up considerably in the second half of the book making this an exciting crime thriller. I received an ARC from NetGalley, and the opinions expressed are my own.

Really liked it by Kerry O on July 16, 2022

An intriguing mystery for Detective Nick Larson and his partner Detective Victor Sacco. I enjoyed the interaction between these two hardened, yet dedicated detectives as they search for a killer who has left their victim hanging, softly. There are no signs of violence, but Nick and Vic don’t believe this is a suicide, they believe she was murdered. Was it her husband who felt that she was stifling him and he needed space? When several other “suicides” occur, is this the work of a serial killer? Meanwhile, Nick is still dealing with the suicide of his ex-wife and his attraction to Laura Howard. He is trying to give Laura time to heal from the murder of her husband who was killed by her twin sister, a sister that she hadn’t known existed. Her twin, a psychotic who is still trying to completely destroy Laura’s life. Is there a chance for Nick and Laura or will her sister always be the dark shadow between them? I received an advance review copy at no cost and without obligation for an honest review.

Really liked it by Sharon Grow on July 13, 2022

What a great crime thriller… well written and an engaging story. In Manhattan, New York Detective Nick Larson is at wits end investigating suspect suicides with his partner Detective Victor Sacco and team. There is also a back story about Nick’s lover Laura Howard being harassed by her twin sister. There are dead ends and twists as more ‘suicides’ occur and the story escalates to a rewarding finale. The novel blends friendship, comradeship, mental illness, and romance brilliantly. A real page turner that is worthy of five (5) stars.

It it was amazing by Ron on July 7, 2022

This is my first book by this author and I am looking for another immediately. The writing is terrific, the characters interesting, and the storyline is unique.

So riveting by Amazon Reviewer on February 17, 2022

Nick Larson has got his hands full. Laura Howard, Nick’s true love, is dealing with a psycho twin sister. To make things worse she is a look alike and is wreaking havoc on Laura ‘ s work as well as her personal life. So is Nick dealing with, the his other officers down with the flu, a posible suicide or is it murder? Did Laura or her sister bring forth life damaging situations. This author has a way with words. Her story is fast paced and exciting to listen to. The suspense level is through the roof. I could not stop listening as more and more things began to come together. WOW! What a great Crime story. This is a must read for those who love an intense story. You won’t be disappointed.

Best Crime Story by Cindythegreat on December 31, 2021

This was a great read. It was full of twists and turns and the story was cohesive and easy to follow. It had good suspense and a nice New York detective storyline with originality and style. There was no shortage of details to keep you intrigued and immersed.

Crime Fighting Awesomeness by T on December 22, 2021

This book sends the senses into overdrive with the story, as you listen from the first chapter you are drawn into the world of this author and are carried along to try and solve the crimes.

The story follows Detective Nick Larson as the melodic tone of the narrator invokes your imagination in the story, Nick has been battling demons for years but when a suicide gets dumped onto his desk it seems like an open and shut case but when he goes to the scene and thinks there something hinky going on, he decides to delve in deeper and try to find the answers.

Once they start delving into the life of the suicide victim things are not starting to make sense, so they carry on with the investigation they discover the underbelly of New York, can they solve the murder and save there selves in the process.

Judge, 29th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards, December 2, 2021

Hanging Softly in the Night deals with a variety of suicides, from the main character’s former wife to the string of “suicides” that he’s investigating. Though this topic could be sensitive to some, I found the plot to be engaging, well-developed, and relatively fast paced. The main characters are complex and well-thought-out, adding to the plot with their unique stories and dialogue. By the end of the novel, I found the reveal of who murdered the “suicide” victims, and how, to be creative and a unique twist that I haven’t seen before, which made it a more exciting mystery.

This book is exemplary in its choice of topic or theme of the story. It is unique but still has strong appeal for most readers in its intended genre…and exemplary in its voice and writing style. It has a unique voice, and the writing style is consistent throughout. The style and tone are also consistent with or will appeal to readers of the intended genre.

This book is satisfactory in its structure, organization, and pacing.

This book is satisfactory in production quality and cover design.

This book is satisfactory in character appeal and development. 

 A gripping thriller which carries you along, AUDIOBOOK review by Angela Shirley on December 13, 2021

Detectives Nick Larson and Victor Sacco are investigating a what seems to be a suicide case amidst high danger of flu. But then more such cases pop out and their strings have to be attached to catch a serial killer on loose.

I loved this book. It was written in a great manner. The plot was so interesting and intriguing. And how the story was unraveled I just loved it. It’s not just Nick and Sacco who are shown in the bigger picture but also Nick’s lover Laura and her mad sister Sandra. And the plot twist was so nice.

All in all I just loved this book and would recommend it to all the crime thriller lovers out there.

I just loved this book by Fantom on October 26, 2021

Which line stood out from all the others in the book? I don’t remember the specific line, but it was a section in the early pages detailing Nick’s aversion to crime scenes and the stench of decomposition. It was so well written, I knew from then I’d enjoy the book.

General Summary for Context:

An excellently written crime thriller following Nick Larson and his partner as they chase a killer and seek justice for the victim.

Concise Review:

I really enjoyed this book! I don’t often dip into crime thrillers, but I’m very glad I did in this case. The writing is crisp, clean and very well done. There’s great tension from the beginning which keeps the reader interested. The characters are so well developed, you could almost believe the author was right there with them as the action is happening. Speaking of action, there’s a good deal of that too.

The book has excellent flow and pace, which again keeps the readers interested. While the author has a disclaimer about the 16th precinct being fictional, along with the characters, you get a true sense of being in central New York along with all the sights and sounds. Right down to the errant bike messenger who nearly gets a smack from Nick’s car at one point! That’s how good the writing is. It helps the reader truly visualize everything they read.

This is an excellent book, and I’ll be looking out for more stories featuring Detective Nick Larson.

General thoughts on the Novel:

As I mentioned above, the tension and pace are excellent. I would have read it much quicker had it not been for some family issues that have taken up a lot of my time lately.

The snappy writing adds to the tension and also helps with the pace and flow. The dialogue is equally excellent and seems so natural. I watch a lot of police procedurals on TV so I do feel the dialogue is as good as it could be. Excellent work all around!

The International Review of Books on October 15, 2021 AWARDED the Badge of Achievement Medal.

“He knew that if he’d proposed this anywhere else, he’d be laughed out of the room or looked at as if he’d grown two heads. But this team had seen some weird s*** throughout their investigative years together, had acted on marginal hunches, and hadn’t outright dismissed sudden shifts in investigative directions. Sometimes the most insignificant crumb, even a hare-brained idea, had blown an investigation wide open.”

“Hanging Softly in the Night” takes place in New York City. The story follows a NYPD detective, Nick Larson, and his partner Vic Sacco, as they investigate an apparent suicide. The detectives are suspicious of the circumstances around the crime though, and their instincts lead them in a different direction.

The partners are stretched thin as a majority of the department has fallen victim to a flu outbreak. Nick is also haunted by the memory of his ex-wife, Angela, which continues to interfere with him moving forward with his personal life. His interest in the lovely Laura was sparked after he helped exonerate her from a murder that her vindictive twin sister actually committed. Her continued trials with her kin and his hang-ups on his ex’s demise keep them from fully committing and also threaten to distract Nick from his investigation.

As they interview suspects and track down leads, it becomes clear that someone else is responsible for all of these seemingly unrelated and tragic endings. A couple points of view are presented throughout the story, but it is mostly told through the voice of Nick, himself.

Trigger Warning: images of suicide, murder, sexual situations, adult language

Overall, I really enjoyed this story. The main characters are well developed with independent personalities and interesting backstories. There is also quite a bit of psychological complexity behind the main characters, the victims, and the villains of the story. There’s a little romance, some humor, and the language is easy to follow with believable narrative. The story is well-paced throughout, although it loses a little of the suspense in the middle. I also found that the eventual conclusion was a little too obvious, though complete. I did absolutely enjoy the investigation along the way. By the end of the story, I was really invested in the characters interactions and futures. I could absolutely see how there could be sequels and continuations to this story and would love to see how the crazy twin storyline continues in the future.

I received a copy of this story in exchange of a fair and honest review.


A detective story with well written characters and back stories. The investigative ride is intriguing and the ending wraps everything up while also opening for the possibility of sequels.

A detective story with well written characters and back stories by Heather L. Barksdale on October 11, 2021 (from Ms. Barksdale website)

Having read “The Coin,” I expected this book to be as good or better. I was not disappointed. The fast-paced action, intriguing characters, back story, mystery –all combined to be a book I read too quickly and was sorry when it ended. I am looking forward to another Nick Larson mystery.

Page Turner by Sandy B on September 8, 2021

This was my first read by this author and I was very happy to have found this book. Mystery is always a favorite and this brought it all! Will be reading more as I enjoyed the writing style and story.

Great Read! by Lyndsey F. on August 30, 2021

An enjoyable read, full of complex storylines all woven nicely into one book. Author Maria does an awesome job of keeping up with several things at one time. I recommend this book to anyone that enjoys suspense stories.

Suspense by Kimberly Griffiths on August 26, 2021

I have to first say thank you to my friends who introduce me to new authors. Without friends that love to read like I do there would be no new authors in my world.

Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra is an incredible writer. Throughout this book I felt like I was in the middle of all of the action.

Nick Larson and his partner Victor Sacco are detectives with the homicide unit. Their cases start with a suicide victim and then move on to homicides. Nick, and his infallible intuition, says that all of the cases are connected, even an old case could be part of this mess. Then add into this the love of Nick’s life, Laura and her sister who causes trauma whenever she can and you have to keep reading to see what is going to happen next.

Nick, Victor, and Laura are wonderful characters, and all of the supporting characters keep you turning pages with laughter, questions, and so much reality.

Page turner that keeps you thinking all the way through by Samantha Bassett on August 21, 2021

This book was incredible. When I first started it, I wasn’t sure I would enjoy it. It kind of seemed like your typical jaded detective murder suspense. But the more I read, the more drawn in I was. There are so many angles with so much happening, and it is all woven together perfectly. I never knew what would happen next and was proved wrong so many times. That is a good thing to me, I love to be surprised in my books. The story is fascinating and relevant, the New York created here is just what you would expect in a crime novel set in modern day New York. It has a gritty feel to it, with lots of jaded people — both in law enforcement and the regular citizens. Yet there is plenty of heart to it. Detective Larson definitely feels — perhaps too much. But he also takes his job quite seriously. This has left him jaded and scarred, but you can see him grow and understand more about himself as the book goes on. I believe the characters are what really make this book. All of his co-workers and friends add so much to the story. I really hope to see more of them in future books. Then there are the people surrounding the tragedies themselves. Every single one is a possible suspect, and each one completely different from the other. The author leaves it wide open and to what happened and why, letting us come to our own conclusions. For a murder mystery/suspense, that is crucial and it is done so well in this story. If you are a fan of gritty detective novels, this book is for you. I loved it.

Edge of Your Seat Detective Suspense by Erin on August 20, 2021

This book is great! Lots of police and homicide lingo. Very fast pace and enjoyable read. Author really knows how to engage her readers. Very descriptive and intense at times, I love how it gets all of your senses going at once.

Great by Neens on August 19, 2021

Hanging Softly in the Night: A Detective Nick Larson Novel by Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra was a very interesting read for me, while police procedurals are not normally my thing I found the synopsis of this pulling me in. Hanging Softly in the Night is so full of tension, drama, mystery, and more that will have any interested reader glued to the edge of their seats. While this is my first read by this author I must say that I will be reading more thanks to her interesting plot, terrific characters, and how fast paced it all comes together. But probably the thing I loved the most is that she put so much effort into making this procedural as real as possible. So if you’re looking for a great read this weekend then I highly recommend Hanging Softly in the Night: A Detective Nick Larson Novel by Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra.

Great Read by Bookdreamgirl2021 on August 19, 2021

Nick Larson is a Detective in the Sixteenth Precinct in Manhattan, New York where he is overworked thanks to the flu epidemic ripping its way through the entire PD, because of this, he and his partner Detective Victor Sacco are drowning in cases, some more easily solved than others, but all as harrowing as the other, it is in the midst of their sixteen plus hour days with little sleep that they are handed a case of a suicide, it beings back dark memories for Nick, but he knows that he has to keep the reactions to them under control. As they approach the crime scene, it looks like a typical suicide by hanging, but when they look deeper into the scene, they see that some things appear a little off, the suicide note is badly written with spelling mistakes and the victim looks too peaceful for the choice of method, there are no last minute attempts to live and the chair below them isn’t tipped over. As they continue looking at the crime scene, they notice other things that don’t quite tally, but there is nothing more that they can do for the moment, so they leave the scene and head into the precinct to write up their notes and get a start on the tedious amount of paperwork awaiting them, as well as dealing with another case which was thrust at them after attending the scene. While the detectives are rushed off their feet, Laura Howard is preparing yet another piece of artwork for her bakery Les Gateaux Riches, she is doing her best to concentrate on this new creation, but her mind keeps wandering to a certain Detective Larson who helped to catch and put behind bars her twin sister whom up until a year ago, she knew nothing about, but who is now trying her best to ruin her life, work, reputation and everything else from behind bars despite having multiple sanctions and restrictions put on her. It is putting a strain on her and not to mention delaying her attempts at romance with Nick, albeit he is as bad as her for dancing around the edges and not fully saying yay or nay. As the Detective pry deeper into the life of the suicide victim, more questions than answers surface during the interviews they conduct with her friends and others who know her, to all intensive purposes, she was an angel who didn’t put a foot wrong or keep many close relationships with those around her, apart from a select few and as they haven’t much to go on, things slow down and they look into their other cases, but after a gut feeling, Nick decides to look at similar cases in the New York area and this leads him on another trail where he fears that this is more wide reaching than he originally thought, especially when another suicide is called in which has too many similarities to be a coincidence. Will Nick and Victor be able to solve the crime before any more victims appear, or will they lose the race against time to catch the one responsible? This is a thrilling crime novel with a hint of romance to keep things interesting, it will draw you into the life and work of a New York Detective while you try and figure out the culprit along with the Detectives, it will reel you in hook, line and sinker until you reach its conclusion.

It Will Reel You In by Roxsannelesieur on August 19, 2021

Who doesn’t like a great mystery thriller? Detectives Nick Larson and Victor Sacco are severely over worked since about half of their precinct is out with the flu. When they are handed a case that looks like a suicide, it looks that way until they take a closer look. Who had it out for the victim? There are other cases that start to pop up similar in nature. Maybe the perpetrator(s) got sloppy and left them a clue?

Laura Howard, a cake baking whiz, is still having problems with her crazy twin sister. Even though the woman is behind bars she is still doing a great job of wrecking Laura’s life. On top of that, she and Nick are in the midst of trying to figure out whether or not they should start a romantic relationship. Who should make the first move? They have both had tragedies in their lives recently, but their feelings are just too much to ignore. Will they get the chance to explore?

This being my first book by this author I wasn’t too sure what I was getting myself into, but the blurb drew me in. It was the perfect blend of mystery and romance. If you like books that you can get lost in and picture what is being described I highly recommend this book.

It Will Suck You In by Charlisa Wahtomy-Alba on August 19, 2021

Hanging softly in the night… isn’t that the truth. Such a fitting title. Detective Nick Larson has his hands full with random suicides. Suicides by hanging. Are they random though? Detective Larson does not believe so. After his ex-wife’s suicide, these deaths are a constant reminder of that incident, which he unfortunately witnesses himself. Released by the police department’s psychiatrist, he takes on these challenging cases.

Not only will you appreciate Nick for his amazing detective skills, but you are greeted by Laura Howard who you cannot help but feel complete and utter sympathy for. The two are made for each other like biscuits are made for gravy.

Feeling queasy? I guarantee not like Nick at these crime scenes. This novel case has more twists and turns than a good rollercoaster. A crime novel that has you on the edge of your seat as you get closer to the end of the book. You can’t help but read until your eyes hurt. Or until you finish the book. Whichever comes first.

Edge of Your Seat by Allyson W on August 19, 2021

This is my first book from Author Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra, but will not be my last. This book is full of mystery, with a plot of twists and complexity all wrapped in one. Detective Nick Larson was called to a crime scene that looks “to neat” per Forensic Investigator Tish Ramos. Originally thinking that it was a suicide whom took the victims life. But Tish Ramos has seen this crime before 2 months prior. Will the killer be caught? Definitely read to find out. This is a great book if you like a great murder mystery.

Fantastic Book! by Lorralei on August 19, 2021

This book was such a fantastic read! I wasn’t 100% sure when I first read the synopsis, but once I started it, I was hooked from beginning to end. The author’s writing was fantastic, so gripping and engaging – it didn’t change the whole way through the book either. The characters were complex and the story was multi layered – it honestly is one of the best books that I have read this year! I can’t believe I have never read anything from this author previously but that will absolutely change now. I cannot wait to get my hands on more of her work!

1 100% recommend this book – it was an amazing read!

It was Amazing by Katie on August 19, 2021

This book was a combination of suspense and romance that kept me interested from the first page to the last. As I imagined the scenes play out in my mind, I found myself invested in what came next. The police investigation kept me guessing throughout the story while the relationship piece allowed for a nice escape from the thoughts of death. I finished the book hoping for a sequel to provide a deeper dive into the romantic endeavors and future for the couple. I enjoyed the character development and storyline and can’t wait for more Nick Larson stories to come.

Page Turner by annone1 on August 18, 2021

Hanging Softly in the Night: A Detective Nick Larson Novel by Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra is an engrossing crime thriller with plenty of mystery, suspense, danger, drama, tension, emotion, and investigation. This is a multi-layered story- with a tightly woven plot that pulled me in and had me trying to piece everything together as the plot unfolded. This is my first read from Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra, so I really didn’t know what to expect going in- but I love a great thriller/mystery and I really didn’t need to be coaxed to snap up a copy to explore. I am happy to say that this has given me a taste for her work, and I will definitely be reading more from this author again. Gripping. Fast paced. Intriguing. Great characters. Well worth the read! Thank you, Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra!

Engrossing by Angela Hayes on August 18, 2021

There was a time where I absolutely loved books with crime, detectives and a thrilling plot. I have always been a fan of those movies too but there is something about using your own imagery. Somewhere between work and kids I forgot how much I love those types of storylines. I am really happy I stumbled across Hanging Softly in the Night. This is a novel that has a little bit of everything all wrapped into one. Characters you love, plot twists and even sensitive subjects. I found myself wrapped into the storyline from page one. It’s been a while since I have read a full length novel and I was impressed by how it not only kept my attention but kept me from wanting to put it down. Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra is a new author to me but left a lasting impression. There are a lot of moving pieces and key characters to this storyline but never once did it feel overdone or too dragged out. I look forward to reading more from this author and highly recommend this 5 star read.

Great Read! by Felicia Bates on August 17, 2021

This novel is a detective thriller where Detective Larson is trying to solve a string of suicides. However, Larson’s intuition is normally never wrong, and he feels that there is something strange and chaotic about the suicides. This book, while a thriller with some sensitive scenarios, is written in such a way that not only are you saying “OMG” but also falling in love with characters, feeling for the friends and family, as well as, feeling the confidence that these crimes will be solved. As someone who loves to solve puzzles, this was a great read. I was constantly trying to figure out where the evidence was going and who could be behind all of the craziness. The craziness was wrapped around a budding love story that presents itself from a turbulent past. I am really looking forward to the next book in the series that will probably focus on these new beginnings that may be soiled from ghosts past.

Twist and Turn Thriller by Aschultz on August 17, 2021

I got into this book in the middle of it that’s when it got more interesting for me. I would say for some people this book could be to gruesome and gory. It has a plot twist that totally shocked me. In all I would definitely read another book from Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra. Very graphic. Please be mindful if you can’t handle certain things.

It was Amazing by rickyangela19 on August 16, 2021

Hanging Softly in the Night: A Detective Nick Larson Novel by Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra is a detailed story that you won’t be able to put down. The author has created a complex story that weaves together so well. There is a lot going on in this book and I felt like I definitely had to focus on it to keep all the different storylines together. But I loved the way they all developed and how the author handled them all so easily.

This is the first book that I have read by this author and I was seriously impressed. It was well written, intriguing and a gripping tale. I was pulled into the characters and into everything going on. This is the kind of book I didn’t want to end. This is brilliant book and a great new author to explore.

A detailed story by Kerry Baker on August 13, 2021

This is a Crime novel and is 365 pages in length. This story follows Detectives Larson and Sacco of the NYPD. The precinct is overrun with the flu and because of that, everyone is working extra hours. Detective Larson is assigned to a suicide call but upon arrival something seems off. To him it looks more like a homicide than a suicide. Then more “suicides” keep popping up. Something is seriously wrong here and Detective Larson can only hope they are not dealing with a serial killer on the loose.

heidischoolman on August 12, 2021

Hanging Softly in the Night: A Detective Nick Larson Novel by Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra. I LOVED this book. This is my favorite genre and its just a great read. Its the story of Nick Larson a NYC Detective. His whole department is under attack from the flu and Nick and his partner Victor Sacco are bogged down with cases. One night the detectives are called in on a case and Forensic Investigator Tish Ramos is informing the guys that this is the second murder scene they have found this way, a woman hanging in the sunroom. No blood, no mess, just a perfectly clean crime scene. On top of this Nick’s girlfriend Laura has been arrested for the murder of her husband and without Nick’s help she would be in jail right now. Laura’s also found out that she has a psychotic twin sister and she’s out to get Laura and her business. Nick is concerned that he may be dealing with a serial killer and with all Laura’s craziness he’s not sure how much more he can handle. Will Nick find out who is killing these innocent victims and will Laura be able to save her business. Read Hanging Softly in the Night to find out!

I LOVED this book by ttreadway1 on August 11, 2021

I really enjoyed this crime story. The author does an amazing job of gripping you and keeping you in the story. The author’s use of the proper police terminology really makes you feel like you are part of the investigation. The lead character Nick Larson has a troubled past and is dealing with problems with his mental health and grief after losing his ex-wife to hanging. The author does a great job with handling these subjects in a way that is respectful but gives you a great insight into it.

Nick and his partner have been called to the suspicious death of a woman. However when they arrive the Scene looks staged. Was this really a self inflicted death or did someone help her?

When  several more deaths all with the same things start turning up on their desk they are in a race against time to get the killer before they can strike again. The question is Nick Larson mentally strong enough to be cope with the pressure of these cases.

Really Liked it by Kerry Carr on August 11, 2021

This is a new author for me which I enjoyed from beginning to end. This is a suspenseful story that pulled me in from the beginning. The author’s use of details made the story come to life on each page. It is a faster paced story about a detective and a serial killer that needs to be found before more deaths happen. The characters are connectable and made the story fun and entertaining. The twists and turns had me sitting on the edge of my seat just waiting to see what would happen next. This is a great story that is worth the pick up. I had a hard time putting it down. I highly recommend this book.

Great Story by Bobbi Jo Wagner on August 8, 2021

Hanging Softly in the Night: A Detective Nick Larson Novel by Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra is the first book I have read by this author, and I am impressed. Maria takes us through a complex plot that she has intricately woven together and given us not one but three plots that will run you ragged. The pace is steady as everything is revealed along the way, but they are not to be outdone by the spectacular ending. Maria has wonderfully crafted a tale that will keep you turning page after page after page as we run through police procedures and investigations with complex and believable characters. We also go on the hunt for a killer to bring to justice. We deal with trauma and mental illnesses, loss and grief and so much more. If Nick needs a partner, I am sure I am now qualified after reading this book. I can not wait for what comes next.

It was amazing by Jenni Bishop on August 8, 2021

Nick has always had a tramtuic time dealing with hanging after his wife’s death. Angela is always on his mind. Each of the three main characters had their own story which interview with one another. Nick has to investsge these suicides as he doesn’t believe this is the case is it or isn’t it. Very well paced and written. Highly recommended.

Very Well Paced and Written by Piper Skylar on August 8, 2021

Hanging Softly in the Night will suck you right into the story. Nick Larson and Laura Howard are two characters that you will love.

Detective Nick Larson hadn’t slept much last night. But the Sixteenth Precinct of the NYPD is having a flu outbreak, so it’s all hands on deck. He and his partner, Victor Sacco, have been called in. Arriving at the scene, the Forensic Investigator Division is already in the process of obtaining information. Forensic Investigator Tish Ramos who is the lead investigator tells the detectives that this is the second scene like this that she has had in the last two months. The scene is that of a woman hanging in the sunroom. The scene is too neat. It doesn’t look like a typical hanging scene.

Laura Howard, Nick’s friend and the woman he loves, is having problems of her own. During the past year, Laura was arrested for her husband’s murder. She would have been convicted if Nick hadn’t found that one piece of evidence that convinced the court that she didn’t do. Added to that terrible ordeal, Laura finds out that she has a crazy twin sister that she never knew anything about it. Now her bakery and catering business, Les Gateaux Riches, is in jeopardy. Her business had faltered after her incarceration. Now, someone is writing negative reviews.

Detectives Larson and Sacco are puzzled by their case and as more of these questionable suicides land on their desks, Nick hopes they aren’t dealing with a serial killer. Laura is considering selling her business with all the negative reviews and the possibility that her crazy twin will beat the murder charge. Will justice prevail in both cases?

Will suck you right into the story by Ashley Dover on August 7, 2021

In this latest edition of Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra’s Lt. Detective Nick Larson series, readers familiar with such stories will find themselves in comfortable territory encountering many typical mystery story tropes.

For one thing, our main hero, New York police detective Nick Larson is an experienced investigator with a big personal problem. After his ex-wife committed suicide, he’s on restricted duty while he works out his pain. At first glance, he might not have been the best choice to lead an investigation of an apparent suicide by hanging. Naturally, this death is followed by other suspicious hangings that might be related murders. Larson, along with his trusty partner, Detective Vic Sacco, along with other tried and true NYPD associates like Tish Ramos, Steve Pensig, and Josh Carpenter, spend most of the book trying to connect the ever-increasing accumulation of dots that should reveal, sooner or later, the motives for the crime spree.

The second plot is a carry-over from a previous Nick Larson story (“Mirror, Mirror”) in which two twins are locked in a psychopathic sibling rivalry. Creative baker Laura Howard is the good twin trying to protect herself, and ignite a relationship with Larson, while brilliant and manipulative evil twin Sandra Ward does everything she can to destroy her sister, even while incarcerated.

Distinguishing attributes of Alonso-Sierra’s story telling include a very descriptive eye, especially for the ever-widening cast of supporting characters and vivid city settings during a cold and harsh winter. On every page, the reader feels like we’ve been taken into city dwellings, shops, office buildings, everywhere Larson has to go to investigate leads, dead-ends and witnesses from every strata of New York life. The author demonstrates a deep well of research into police procedures and medical analysis, as demonstrated by the list of acronyms at the beginning of the book. Adding to the verisimilitude, a fast, energetic pace keeps the reader engaged from beginning to end.

If you’re like me, you’ll not only get involved with the developing relationships between the leads, you’ll want to continue the ride in the next volume of the Nick Larson saga. Without providing spoilers, not everything is resolved in Hanging Softly. We got more surprises coming and I can’t wait for the next chapters.

It was amazing by Wesley Britton on July 23, 2021 (see review posted on Mr. Britton’s website here )

Title: Hanging Softly in the Night: A Detective Nick Larson Novel

Author: Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra

Genre: Fiction/Mystery/Thriller

Audience: Adult

Word Count: 100000


Plot: Alonso-Sierra’s high-speed plot is dramatic and well-balanced. Despite an abrupt ending, the storyline introduces believable complications and plausible intrigue.

Prose/Style: Alonso-Sierra’s prose is both poetic and succinct. The articulate third-person perspective employs genuine criminal lingo without sacrificing its lyrical style.

Originality: Hanging Softly in the Night applies conventional murder mystery themes, but goes above and beyond by adding in psychiatric subplots.

Character Development/Execution: The characters in Hanging Softly in the Night are relatable and intriguing, particularly Nick Larson’s troubled past juxtaposed with his present-day crime-fighting. Readers will be left ruminating on the attention-grabbing dynamics between Laura Howard and her malicious twin sister.

Blurb: A fast-moving murder mystery that will leave readers fixated on the psychiatric undertones driving the main characters. 

A Great Read by Amazon Customer on April 26, 2021

It is that kind of book you just can’t put down. It leaves you wanting more. Enjoyed it till the end. Will recommended for everyone who wants to be kept in suspense till the very end. Superb!!

(7.25) Booklife Review on June 24, 2021


Nick Larson is a detective in NYPD and gets his hand on the most unnerving and intriguing crimes of the city along with his kickass colleague Victor Sacco, while the trauma of his ex-wife’s death still haunts him. The conflict is staged in a suicide case of Isabel Creasy, a young and ambitious woman who was terrified from the name of the death. What appeared as a simple case of suicide, smelled of something hideous to Nick, followed by a series of suspicious deaths which points towards a much complicated case of homicide and a missing link involving drugs, dark web and weird obsessions. If this was not enough, Nick has some unsolved mysteries of his own life as well.  Shaken by the past and struggling to live a normal life, ironically Nick finds his job as the only refuge from the misery he suffers.

Structure and Element of the Novel

Hanging Softly in the Night: A Detective Nick Larson Novel is a thriller fiction novel by the Award-Wining Author Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra who has written many books in similar genre. The novel is well researched and well-structured. It begins with an element of suspense when a suicide cum murder mystery case is reported. The cases that followed added to the clock to build up the tension in the plot, increasing the suspense and ending in an unanticipated climax. The minor details of investigation and a precise psycho-analysis of the detectives’ state of mind shows the author’s meticulous and thorough understanding of the subject. The abbreviations in the opening pages reflects the same. I loved the title; one must re-read the title to understand its relevance and the irony behind it.

“Death was a smell he never got used to.”

Story Development and Writing

The story follows a perfect narrative arc. It has a fast pace, new characters come in and carry forward the story in a different direction, but neither the POV nor the central theme changes. From the description of the lives of the detectives, their formal and informal verbal exchanges, deep companionship, complicated relationship, challenges at work,  it seems that the author has done a thorough study or have kept a close watch on their lives.

“This moment proved Life was a bitch with an agenda, eager to screw him at every opportunity.”

As the reader begins to see everything from a detective’s perspective, the backstory of the victim’s life and their state of mind unnerves the reader with the hidden vulnerability of innocent people. The author has very well portrayed the dark-side of world, substance abuse, bad parenting, loneliness, perils of social media, weird obsessions and how there is always someone who is ready to prey on your weakness in the narrative.

“She had created her own monster, one that had eventually devoured her.”

It is very thoughtful and conscientious of the author to pen down some contemporary and realistically relevant matters like environment in the novel which will be refreshing for the reader too. Also, the dialogues, particularly the swear words, challenge the stereotypes which may sound a bit unusual but will draw readers’ attention. The occasional episodes of Nick and Laura’s love life add warmth to the story too. The only thing that could have been better was editing. The paragraphs were somewhere unnecessarily detailed and not required, making me skip those. Otherwise, it is a must read thriller novel and I look forward to read more of the author’s work.

“If it bleeds, it leads.”


I find the novel as a compelling train of crime stories where few badass detectives are all blood and sweat over the mystery of suicides happening in the city. It exposes the reader to all the heat the detectives have to go through and the dark, unnerving truth of human vulnerabilities that leads them to take extreme steps while we live our day to day lives. It is a great read for all the thriller-suspense novel lovers and strikes a chord with the reader invoking their sympathy for the deceased. The conscious effort of the author to make the story as real as possible is much appreciated. Brace yourselves for this amazing thriller ride.

Shelley Reviews Rating

Story: 4.5/5

Structure & Elements of the Story:4/5

Writing: 4/5

Creativity: 4/5

Overall: 4/5

“A gripping thriller of a detective’s encounter with intriguing murder mysteries while he deals with his traumatic past. Chaotic, captivating and extremely well researched thriller that excites and compels the reader to read it in one sitting.” –Shelley Book Reviews – March 14, 2021

Detective Nick Larson and his partner Detective Victor Sacco are overworked and overwhelmed by a slew of cases, so it would be easy to write off the latest body hanging from the ceiling as the suicide it appears to be, but Nick’s gut is screaming that he actually has a murder on his hands. To make matters worse, Laura Howard, the woman Nick loves is still having issues with a psychotic twin sister and memories of Nick’s ex are ruffling his personal and professional life. As Nick and Sacco continue to investigate, more suspicious suicides turn up, and whether he’s ready or not, Nick will have to track down clues fast before the murderer-turned-serial- killer targets his next victim.

A high tension, emotion-filled police procedural, “Hanging Softly In the Night” is the written version of CSI:NY with an added dose of crazy. Readers will find themselves fully immersed in Nick’s feelings, fears, and determination to hunt the truth, as well as caught up in the mystery of who is killing all these people and why. The romance between Nick and Laura is equally passionate as they struggle with very real conflicting feelings. The story itself is very well written and engaging and keeps the reader guessing who the villain is until the end when the answer is laid out in a clear step by step manner. As the emotions can be gritty and dark at times, this story is not for everyone, but fans of modern detective shows will find plenty to enjoy in this book and will undoubtedly devour the prequel and be eager for book 2!

High tension police procedural by Sarah E. Bradley for InD’tale Magazine on March 4, 2021 – Winner Crowned Heart!

Title – Hanging Softly in the Night
Author – Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra
Genre – Detective/Mystery
Word Count – 108,500
Rating – 5 stars out of 5
No. 07 – 2021
Posted 2/12/2021

My Impressions: Professional writing, interesting, believable characters who interact well, intricate and complex plot.
Main Characters:
Lt. Detective Nick Larson – Struggling with internal demons after ex-wife committed suicide.
Detective Vic Sacco – Nick’s close friend and partner.
Ramos – Member of the investigative team
Laura Howard – Nick’s current girlfriend with her own deadly personal baggage.
Sandra Ward – Laura’s sister who wants to destroy her.

There are three story lines here. Nick is fighting personal demons after his ex-wife committed suicide while on the phone with him begging him to take her back. A second story line is his girlfriend’s psychopath sister who wants to destroy her and is in a psych ward. But even locked up the nutcase manages to corrupt Laura’s life. The main plot is a string of hangings deaths originally judged to be suicides. Nick isn’t buying the suicides; he and his investigative team chase leads to no avail and the deaths keep piling up. The interaction among his team members adds greatly to the story, Many people they interview are nutcases in their own right. Then the case is solved by a witness who just drops in their laps.

Laura’s demented sister is not resolved. Is she left hanging for a sequel? I hope so.

The editing and sentence structure are well done and just short of perfect.
Character Development is good for all important characters.
Research is evident in the story’s complex details.
The plot is complex, intense and fast paced.

I enjoyed Hanging Softly in the Night and highly recommend it.

An absolute thriller by Vigilant Reader Reviews on February 12, 2021

Set in New York City, Alonso-Sierra’s brilliant latest mystery featuring Detective Nick Larson takes readers on an exhilarating journey as Nick finds himself embroiled in a serial killing investigation.

The workload is taking its toll on Detective Nick Larson and his partner, Detective Victor Sacco with Manhattan’s Sixteenth Precinct under siege by the flu, and Nick’s personal life is not in its best shape. When Nick is called to investigate a suicide, his instincts leads him to widen the scope of his investigation. More deaths follow, and the detective pair find themselves entangled in the sinister machinations of a cunning serial killer.

Alonso-Sierra builds plausible plot twists while simultaneously delving into the struggles and anxieties of her protagonist’s lives, and all her characters, including the secondary ones are rendered in striking and precise detail. The intriguing plotline is enhanced by Nick and Laura’s burgeoning relationship. Along the way, Alonso-Sierra delves into issues of personal identity, the intricacies of love and relationship, and how mental illness affects the family and loved ones.

Pacing stays swift, and the shockingly satisfying climax to the gripping, suspenseful plot will leave the readers clamoring for more of Nick’s adventures.

Lovers of intelligently delivered and psychologically sophisticated plots and motivations will find a lot to like in this un-put-down novel.

It was amazing. Reviewed by litandcoffee on January 13, 2021

Called in to investigate a suicide, Detective Nick Larson and his crew soon discover reasons why it must have been murder. When, where and how are readily established, but who did it and why will be the stuff of mystery for reader and protagonist alike in this eerie tale by award-winning writer Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra. 

The scene was set up to look like death by hanging – but the victim, Isabel Creasy, was on the verge of a new and fulfilling change of life. Creasy shows none of the signs of horrific strangulation or psychological collapse that would suggest self-destruction – signs Larson of the NYPD knows all too well. He lives with the haunting image of the death by hanging a few months ago of Angie, the woman he tried to love. That memory will both disturb and compel him as the team will discover another, and another, feigned suicide. 

Larson, in tandem with his partner Victor Sacco, are under unusual pressure because there is a flu running rampant in the city that is forcing them to take on extra work. Interviewing and investigating the known friends and colleagues of the bodies piling up in the morgue becomes a constant. And for Larson, there’s more: he’s seeing a shrink to help him process Angie’s suicide, while contemplating, with serious reservations, a romance with Laura Howard, victimized by her psychopathic sister with apparent murderous intent, but more than willing to start a new relationship with the handsome, empathic Detective Larson who handled her case. As more and more clues surface around the first faked hanging, stress is mounting on Larson from all directions. But he’s tough, and that’s how it has to be. 

Alonso-Sierra, a world-traveled author, initiated her Detective Nick Larson series with a prequel short story, Mirror Mirror, offering an early portrait of the man and his manner of dealing with crime and criminals. She has fleshed Larson out in this new book: a street-smart yet sensitive guy whose instinct for solving problems enhances his profession, but sometimes causes him to think too much about personal dilemmas. Throughout this offering, the author shows him wavering about a new relationship, while revealing solid reasons for the trauma that prevents him for committing. But his commitment to sniffing out the monster who is perpetrating the faux suicides never flags, as he moves from clue to clue looking for some linkage among the victims. 

Quill says: Hanging Softly in the Night is a page-turning read with snappy dialogue and hardcore action that will charm fans of gritty, police-procedure whodunits, with enough latest technologies, cross-cultural characterizations and social savvy to engage a newer generation of fans.

Reviewed byBarbara Bamberger Scott for Feathered Quill on January 13, 2021

It was amazing.

This exciting installment in the A Detective Nick Larson Novel series from Alonso-Sierra finds the ingenious Detective on the trail of a psychopathic serial killer.

With the New York Police Department’s Sixteenth Precinct in Manhattan under siege by the flu, Detective Nick Larson and his partner, Detective Victor Sacco, have their hands full. If pressure from the work overload is not enough, Laura Howard, the woman Nick loves, is trying to deal with her dwindling business and a psycho twin sister. When a suicide case lands on Nick’s desk, he knows the things are not as they seem on the surface. More bodies pile up and Nick and his team find themselves on the trail of sinister serial killer.

The meticulous police details add to the story’s authenticity, and the affecting connection between Nick and Laura keeps the pages turning. Nick, troubled but nonetheless intelligent and intuitive, has enough substance to sustain a long series. Laura is an absolute darling. The killer with disturbing past secretes and a series of staged suicides add to the menacing atmosphere.

The pacing stays swift, and Alonso-Sierra keeps the shocking reveals coming until the story build to an explosive finale. She smoothly blends the fine elements of a police procedural with a close look at the psychologies of her characters and delves into the issues of mental illness, childhood trauma, relationships, resilience, and justice. Readers will look forward to Nick’s further adventures.

This expertly crafted tale is a total page-turner.

Reviewed by BooksCoffee Jan 05, 2021

A compulsively readable mystery…

This exciting installment in the A Detective Nick Larson Novel series from Alonso-Sierra finds the ingenious Detective on the trail of a psychopathic serial killer. With the New York Police Department’s Sixteenth Precinct in Manhattan under siege by the flu, Detective Nick Larson and his partner, Detective Victor Sacco, have their hands full. If pressure from the work overload is not enough, Laura Howard, the woman Nick loves, is trying to deal with her dwindling business and a psycho twin sister. When a suicide case lands on Nick’s desk, he knew the things are not as they seem on the surface. More bodies pile up and Nick and his team find themselves on the trail of sinister serial killer. The meticulous police details add to the story’s authenticity, and the affecting connection between Nick and Laura keeps the pages turning. Nick, troubled but nonetheless intelligent and intuitive, has enough substance to sustain a long series. Laura is an absolute darling. The killer with disturbing past secrets and a series of staged suicides adds to the menacing atmosphere. The pacing stays swift, and Alonso-Sierra keeps the shocking reveals coming until the story builds to an explosive finale. She smoothly blends the fine elements of a police procedural with a close look at the psychologies of her characters and delves into the issues of mental illness, childhood trauma, relationships, resilience, and justice. Readers will look forward to Nick’s further adventures. This expertly crafted tale is a total page-turner.

Reviewed by The Prairies Book Review on January 5, 2021

Hanging Softly in the Night by Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra takes us on an intriguing investigation with Detective Nick Larson. Unlike most homicide detectives, Nick does not have the stomach for the smell of death and decay and the author gives us an offbeat yet pleasant take in the world of mystery thrillers.

After the murder of a young woman, framed as a suicide, lands on Nick and his partner Vic Socco’s watch, the search to uncover a killer and find justice heats up. Nick, facing his own past and fears, needs to solve the case for the sake of his sanity. Teetering in the shadows, Nick’s love life rests in the hands of Laura, a woman embroiled in her own murderous nightmare.

I loved the step by step investigation and intrigue into the homicide and the real feel of the characters from Detective Larson to each strong supporting cast member described by the author. Hanging Softly in the Night is a great continuation of a thrilling series that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The romantic element weaves its own story and keeps you intrigued. A solid five stars for this engaging thriller. 

Reviewed by USA TODAY Bestselling Author & Retired Homicide Detective, Holly S Roberts on November 22, 2020.

In this extremely well-written book, Hanging Softly in the Night by author Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra, we are introduced to Detective Lieutenant Nick Larson from NYPD homicide. Nick and his partner Victor Sacco arrive at the home of a suicide victim. The sight that greets them brings back to Nick’s mind unwanted memories that trouble him greatly. The overall scene does not seem right and Nick’s well-established gut feelings are churning. The scene of the victim, Isabelle Creasy, seems to be somewhat staged but with no evidence or clues, Nick is struggling. The excessive workload caused by a flu epidemic at the precinct is causing Nick and Vic further problems. When they are called to another suicide victim, the scene looks very similar. Could the cases be connected? Follow Nick and Vic and see if the little evidence they gather and the twists and turns that they have to follow take them to the right conclusion.

Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra writes in a way that makes you want to keep reading this action-packed, fast-moving story. The characters she introduces you to are very believable. The rapport between work colleagues draws you into the workplace as if you are a fly on the wall. The victims’ friends, families, and exes produce evidence to follow but some of these are red herrings which the author deliberately puts into the story to make you, the reader, come up with possible suspects that keep your avid interest in this book. The author paints a word picture of the sights, scenes, and descriptive smells so distinctly that you get a mental experience – even if you have not seen it or smelled it before, you know what the author is depicting. This is an extremely well-written book with good characters, and an excellent storyline and overall themes. The title aptly describes the scenes of the victims as the story unfolds. A very good book and I look forward to another by this author.

Reviewed By Christopher Anderson for Readers’ Favorite on November 20, 2020

Detective Nick Larson and his partner, Detective Victor Sacco, are overloaded. New York Police Department’s Sixteenth Precinct in Manhattan is at minimal staff with the flu, and the cases keep pouring in. When Nick is called to an apparent suicide, his instincts immediately tell him that all is not as it appears. There are several small indicators that the victim, a recent divorcee, was actually murdered and staged to look like a suicide by hanging. When more cases hit the precinct, it becomes obvious that they have a serial killer on their hands during a flu outbreak. With few leads and common factors amongst the victims, Nick and Victor are in a race against time to keep the killer from striking again. Hanging Softly in the Night by Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra is a thrilling mystery that will keep you turning pages long past bedtime.

I loved this novel! It’s the perfect mix of mystery, police procedural, crime drama, and intrigue that will keep any lover of mystery novels engaged and thrilled. The story keeps unfolding in amazing and interesting ways that keep you guessing – and from guessing who the killer is – until the very end. It’s a captivating novel that reflects not only our current times well but is filled with great characters and the complexity you see in everyday life to create the perfect mystery novel. Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra has crafted a masterful story here that was hard to put down. Hanging Softly in the Night is a must-read for any lover of mystery and suspense novels.

Reviewed By Sherri Fulmer Moorer for Readers’ Favorite on November 20, 2020

Following his instincts, a homicide detective investigates a suicide and uncovers a serial killer in the thrilling murder mystery novel, Hanging Softly in the Night (A Detective Nick Larson Novel) by Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra. When the body of Isabel Creasy is found hanging in her apartment, Detective Nick Larson has the gut feeling that everything isn’t as it seems. Isabel is in the process of moving to a more agreeable residence, and the cosmetic line she is developing is promising high returns. Her life is beginning to take off, she is happy, and she had no visible reason to kill herself. When another suicide occurs, Nick and his partner Sacco start searching for links between Isabel and the new victim. Strangely, what stands out at each crime scene is the lack of any signs of a struggle common with a hanging. Did these people intend to die? Or is there a new kind of serial killer stalking the citizens of Manhattan?

With a psychopathic killer hiding in the background, Hanging Softly in the Night (A Detective Nick Larson Novel) by Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra is a brilliant and breathtaking murder mystery. The elements of mystery, murder, and suspense are expertly woven together, creating a gripping crime story. From the very start, I was captivated by the eloquent and horrifying depiction of the first scene. The twists and turns of the plot were so mesmerizing I couldn’t put the book down until I knew who the murderer was and what drove them. With engaging characters, a transfixing plot, and a suspense-filled storyline, the book promises to entertain everyone who enjoys murder mysteries that are intense and exciting from beginning to end!

Reviewed By Susan Sewell for Readers’ Favorite on November 18, 2020.

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