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

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2021

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

*****Reviewed byBarbara Bamberger Scott for Feathered Quill 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 by BooksCoffee Jan 05, 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 The Prairies Book Review on January 5, 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.

2020

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

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 Christopher Anderson for Readers’ Favorite on November 20, 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 Sherri Fulmer Moorer 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 Susan Sewell for Readers’ Favorite on November 18, 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!