Nike N. Chillemi – Mystery & a Merry Heart
According to Nike’s website, her novels contain “Grace and Grit” and she likes her bad guys “really bad” and her “good guys fighting for justice against steep odds”.
I have known Nike Chillemi for some years now. We are both members of an ACFW critique loop, so I have been involved with the writing of several of her detective novels. We have both weathered a few storms in our personal lives along the way–a positive, bonding experience for sure.
This may lead some to believe my review of her latest book might be biased. But I would like to be honest about her latest work, because in my humble opinion, it’s her best yet.
Last Days – A Katerina “Kat” Andruko/Dimitri Garmonin Novel
A spry elderly woman has died mysteriously in a Florida coastal town, and the head of a clandestine organization in Washington D.C is interested in the case. All evidence, or lack thereof, points to accidental death, but Detective Katerina “Kat” Andruko has nagging doubts. She also has doubts about a mysterious phone call profiler Dimitri Garmonin, PhD, her intended, took and hid from her.
As if that wasn’t enough, Kat’s former fiancé and fellow law enforcement officer gleefully taunts her, predicting the demise of her relationship with Dimitri. Her future mother-in-law thinks she’s less than demure and not suitable marriage material for her son.
Meanwhile, all leads on the elderly woman’s death go nowhere. Old enemies at the local TV station are calling the police incompetent. They air an unfavorable segment about Dimitri. Just as Kat and Dimitri reluctantly begin to believe the death was accidental, the woman’s neighbor goes missing.
Like most good detective stories, Last Days begins with a crime that needs solving. Detective Andruko is on the case. In the beginning, all the roads lead to dead ends. Chillemi keeps the action high and the story moving forward. She also keeps a constant battle going as Kat Andruko deals with doubt and anxiety surrounding her upcoming marriage to Dimitri Garmonin.
Though the two seem perfect for each other, the future mother-in-law is not at all pleased with her son’s choice. So, our main detective, Kat Andruko, is off-kilter and questioning herself in every way. Add in a liberal dose of whodunnit, and you have a winning recipe for a riveting story.
Chillemi keeps her readers guessing till the end. Even me. I thought I’d predicted the outcome early on, but I was wrong. I love that! This was a quick, fun read. One of the things I enjoyed most was Chillemi’s inclusion of characters from her Ingles/Hughes series. The familiar “faces” made me feel at home in the story.
Keep ‘em coming, Nike!
Nike N. Chillemi has a passion for crime fiction. She writes detective stories and mysteries with a national security twist. Some have called her novels “classic whodunits,” while others think they’re “cozy thrillers,” loaded with taut suspense with a healthy dose of wry humor. She’s known for compelling main characters, zany and quirky secondary and tertiary characters, and dangerous villains. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and is the founding board member of the Grace Filled Fiction Spotlight (formerly Grace Awards).