“An Eye for an Eye" By Caroline Fardig: Review/Giveaway

by Kathleen Costa
Not only do we have a review of Caroline Fardig's latest book, but after the review she shares just a bit about what it's like switching back and forth between writing cozies and suspense. Details at the end of this post on how to win a copy of this book and links to purchase it.

In the first book of Caroline Fardig’s suspense thriller series, Bitter Past (September 2017), well-respected criminologist Ellie Matthews, who after a grisly murder turned personal, traded in her badge for a professorship at Ashmore College, a posh private school. But, even hiding herself in the halls of academia, can’t quite get her away from the dead bodies, campus chaos, ravenous reporters, and the resurfacing of personal demons. She gets pulled into a multiple murder investigation by former mentor and friend Sheriff Jayne Walsh and the handsome, yet infuriating, Detective Nick Baxter.

It was a ‘one and done’ situation for Ellie, refusing to become a regular consultant, and now that the trial is done and the hounding press has moved onto another breaking news story, Ellie is easing back into life with her half-sister Rachel and nephew Nate and her forensic science lectures. But it'll be An Eye for an Eye that brings her reluctantly back into the fold.

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Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it…murder? Amy Donovan has been murdered; her body revealed as the snow began to melt. A cryptic poem lodged in her mouth points to vengeance as a motive and a warning, “I'm just getting started.” Sheriff Walsh is on high alert since the victim is the daughter of her first partner, retired detective Frank Donovan, and despite her personal connection, she understands when Ellie turns down a request to consult. But, Ellie soon receives a frantic phone call from her younger half-sister Rachel. Her close friend and college mate Jenna Walsh, Sheriff Walsh’s niece, is uncharacteristically AWOL having never returned from her romantic weekend with a secret boyfriend. Ellie can't refuse the call for all hands on deck, but her personal demons surface when Jenna is victim number two; another cryptic poem is found with the body, “It won't be long before the next one’s gone.”

It's personal again, and Ellie struggles with the feelings that had ultimately caused her to give up criminology work with the police department in the first place. She is again partnered with handsome Detective Baxter with whom she had a serious falling out; his attempts to apologize fall on deaf ears. But it is important to put all that aside when another body is discovered, the sociopath hits too close to home, and the ultimate challenge could put everyone in jeopardy. Will this be an end from which no one can survive?

Image source: Caroline Fardig

This is the second book in Caroline Fardig’s suspense thriller. Fans of book one, Bitter Past, will be deeply involved, but newbies need not avoid this intriguing story. Fardig offers several references to the background and character connections found in book one, however no spoilers to interfere with going back to the beginning. The story is deeply engaging, nail-biting at times, well, all the time, and the ultimate challenge the sociopath lays out made this very difficult to put down. Added to the suspense is a myriad of fascinating information about crime scene techniques and evidence testing. Fardig’s descriptions and dialogue keep one turning the pages, and even in the midst of the drama we get some witty banter. Well written all around!

The characters are all well-developed, an enjoyable surprise this early in the series, and the relationships are clearly defined and realistic, even when there are disagreements or a history of misunderstandings or just plain dislike. Ellie is strong, stronger than she perceives, with a quick wit that more than equips her with the ability to keep up with seasoned detectives and Federal Agent Vic Manetti. Fardig does an excellent job of illustrating Ellie’s flaws and demons that she desperately tries to overcome for the sake of justice. Her tight connection to family and friends keeps her going, and the main motivation for self sacrifice when she comes face-to-face with a killer.

Fascinating... An Eye for an Eye is definitely a favorite thrill ride. I’ve read several books from Tess Gerritsen’s Rizzoli & Isles and Kathy Reich’s Bones series, and Caroline Fardig’s Ellie Matthews book is far more engaging—the story and the characters!

An Eye for an Eye earns 5/5 Cryptic Poems…a Nail-Biting Experience!

KRL: How does an author known for writing cozy mysteries switch gears to write a more edgy suspense thriller?

I was lucky to be able to connect with Caroline Fardig and ask that exact question. I also asked about her experiences with research to prepare for including the fascinating technical information woven seamlessly throughout the story.

I'm loving exploring the darker side of mysteries. It's a different mindset writing a forensic thriller versus a fun amateur sleuth story. I feel like my characters have to be quite a bit more serious. Even though the Ellie Matthews series is written in first person, I find myself not giving away everything that she is feeling like I would in a lighter story. In the Java Jive series, Juliet always gives her own snarky internal commentary on everything that goes on, but Ellie doesn't. She's a more guarded character in general, but still I try to make her story more about how she handles her job than her personal feelings toward what happens. I have to think a little "darker." I feel like I'm a bit more serious and brooding in general when I write a darker novel. I listen to harder-edged music and tend to watch more cop shows and fewer comedies in my downtime, plus I tend to read some pretty dark stuff.

Caroline Fardig

As for my research, I took three night classes at a local college--two forensics courses and a criminal investigations course. What I learned was invaluable, but even better were the connections I was able to make because of the class. My forensics professor is a firearms examiner for the Indiana State Police lab, and she has been wonderful about answering my many questions, even now that my classes are over. We took several tours of the lab, so I got to see a working forensics lab in action. Also, my professor would have her colleagues come in and teach the lessons in their fields of expertise, so I've had several chances to get to know criminalists who specialize in fingerprints, DNA/serology, and drug chemistry. They, too, have been incredibly willing to answer my "what if" questions.

I have no real anecdotes to tell, besides one on myself--I've never shot a gun or been around guns at any point in my life. So it was an overwhelming (and slightly scary) experience to walk into the "gun room" at the ISP lab during my first tour there. The walls are lined with peg board, and handguns, shotguns, and rifles literally hang from every square inch of the place. (These are firearms that have either been seized or turned over to the police, and they are used for testing and comparisons and for replacement parts when the firearms inspectors are processing weapons found at crime scenes. Some of them are quite old and unusual.) Nothing happened, it was simply that I was trying desperately to act nonchalant in front of my much-younger classmates while I was having a total freak-out session on the inside.

Be a Big Caroline Fardig Fan!
My introduction to Caroline Fardig was through the Java Jive Mystery and the Lizzie Hart Mystery series she authors. Fardig’s Bad Medicine, from her Lizzy Hart Mysteries, was named one of the Best Books of 2015 by Suspense Magazine. She worked as a schoolteacher, church organist, insurance agent, funeral parlor associate, and stay-at-home mom before she realized that she wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Born and raised in a small town in Indiana, Fardig still lives in that same town with an understanding husband, two sweet kids, two energetic dogs, and one malevolent cat.

Like, Visit, and Follow…Oh my!

Facebook - Caroline Fardig Books
Website - Caroline Fardig USA Today Best Selling Author
Blog - Caroline Fardig

To enter to win a copy of An Eye for an Eye, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “eye,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen February 24, 2018. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please included your mailing address. If entering via comment please be sure to include your email address.

You can use these links to purchase the book. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is a 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying her retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband.
Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Thank you so much for having me on KRL, Kathleen! And what a wonderful review!

  2. Thanks for introducing us to the author and series. Looks like a great read. doward1952(at)yahoo(dot)com

  3. This looks really good--I'd love to read it. Ty for the giveaway. legallyblonde1961@yahoo.com

  4. “An Eye for an Eye" By Caroline Fardig sounds absolutely intriguing. Very much enjoyed reading about the book and author. I thought it was awesome the way the author actually took courses to try to understand the makings of both the criminal and the law to write an accurate storyline. Her varied professions probably added to the writing ability as well.

    Thank you for your review which makes me want to read the book all the more. Appreciate the chance to win a copy of the book.

  5. Caroline is another new author to me. Book sounds like a great read.

  6. I am excited when I discover an author who is new to me. I'm a police volunteer in Livermore, CA, where I live. Our officers have been willing to answer many of my questions. An Eye for an Eye sounds exactly what I love to read.


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