"Life Without Parole" An Angela Richman, Death Investigator Mystery By Elaine Viets: Review/Giveaway

 Review by Cynthia Chow

 Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book and a link to purchase it.

As one of the wealthiest communities in Missouri, Chouteau Forest is a ripe target for thieves looking to make a big score. So, when a dozen burglaries occur within a two-week period, Chouteau County residents begin arming themselves to the teeth and taking advantage of the state’s gun-friendly laws. It’s a matter of time before the string of non-violent crimes turn deadly, with the only question being who takes the first shot. The night that Death Investigator Angela Richman is called out and awakened from a blissful sleep, it does appear that the so-called Ghost Burglars have escalated their methods and left wealthy contractor Thomas J. Lockridge with three bullet holes in his head. Detective Jace Budewitz isn’t so certain, though, and he immediately focuses on the much younger widow Cynthia as his suspect, especially when the first “friend” she calls for support happens to be her attorney.

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Knowing how quickly the Forest will react to circle its own and shut down an uncomfortable investigation, Jace goes rogue and enlists Angela in questioning the merry widow and looking her trailer park past. Tom Lockridge’s daughter is just as quick to hurl accusations towards her new stepmother, and it’s looking more and more like the killing was a hit-for-hire. When the criminal who pulled the trigger – a very non-heroic Duke Spider-Man Lee – immediately throws Cynthia under the bus, it appears as though Chouteau County’s Cinderella has killed off her prince.

This fifth in the series continues to be an outstanding examination of class warfare, shining a light on Chouteau County and all of his hypocrisy and insularism. Angela’s mother having cleaned most of the estates and mansions means that Angela was raised among them but will never be truly accepted. She continues to dodge her nemesis Detective Ray Greiman, whose family connections protect him even while being blatantly sexist and corrupt. What continues to make this series so entertaining are the smaller investigations Angela pursues as one of Choteau County’s three Death Investigators. An obvious DUI traffic homicide and the reckless shooting by an out-of-control homeowner highlight the class divide and unequal levels of investigation, with Angela knowing all too well how the Forest protects its own. That is why the Epilogue provides some of the most satisfying moments of the novel, with justice carried out not by criminal law but by civil lawsuits and ruined reputations. Angela is a fascinating and unique investigator, one who has had to rehabilitate from six strokes and still mourns the loss of her husband. That she is slowly allowing her heart to open to Detective Chris Ferretti is inspiring, especially since she had believed that she would never love again. Angela’s wry humor and wit make even the darkest of moments entertaining, and Viets has the ability to enrage readers with the unfairness of class structure without being preachy. A suspenseful conclusion has Angela putting together the puzzle pieces while risking her life and her job, but a happy future looks to be on its way for readers and our heroine.

To enter to win either an ebook or hardback copy of Life Without Parole, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "parole,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen January 15, 2022. US residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win. If entering via comment please include your email address so we can contact you. BE AWARE THAT DUE TO THE CURRENT CRISIS THERE MAY BE A DELAY IN SHIPPING THE WINNING BOOK. BE SURE TO STATE IF YOU WANT EBOOK OR HARDBACK. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode went up this week.

You can use this link to purchase the book or click here. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).
 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. Elaine is from the local area and it's fun to
    try to place the areas she writes about
    to actual places in this area. Hardback
    copy, please. thanks.

  2. Sounds like a great read. Looking forward to reading the book. I prefer a print copy.

  3. New mystery series for me, sounds good! tWarner419@aol.com

  4. Thus sounds like a real page Turner - I would love a chance at a hardback! Claire.denning.11 at gmail

  5. Love Elaine! I have all of her books.

  6. Enjoy Elaine's books! Enter me for an e-copy!


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