What You’ve Done by J.A. Schneider

A small town divorce lawyer (“I know people’s secrets”) blames herself when a client’s teen daughter is brutally murdered. She investigates and finds herself the killer’s next target.

Grieving the loss of her NYPD detective husband, former defense attorney Mia Peale moves to Grand Cove, Connecticut, desperate for a sense of community and hoping to rebuild her life. Now, starting a family law practice, she’s finally found friends and peace – until the teen daughter of one of her clients is brutally murdered, and the girl’s boyfriend stands accused.

Kelly Payne was an adored high school track star. Brian Hall is a poor boy in a rich town, and the community is outraged. But Mia has known Brian since her arrival and can’t believe he’s guilty, despite strong circumstantial evidence against him. As his defense turns lackluster, she asks Grand Cove police detective Jay Colter for help. Jay is also skeptical of the police and DA’s case and takes them on, especially when Mia’s friend from her former Manhattan law firm uncovers a frighteningly similar murder in the city. Secretly, Jay helps Mia investigate both murders, but his alarm grows as her life is threatened by a maniac hiding among them.

Set in a small town, this thriller would be a cosy mystery if it weren’t for the victim being a teenage girl.
Kelly is a local star whose parents are undergoing a divorce, when her body is washed up on shore with her throat cut. The police seem more than happy to pin this on her troubled boyfriend but Mia, her track coach and mother’s lawyer, is certain that Brian is innocent and starts investigating alternative answers to the mystery.

The red herrings in this book are a little too on the nose for me, loudly incriminating different characters to keep you off the scent of the true killer but not quite seamlessly enough to make you feel sneaky for having noticed in the first place. I like subtlety when it comes to clues like this, if only for the totally undeserved feeling of smugness for having spotted them…

Mia is a bit of a conflicting character, in that she’s observant and intelligent while also oddly careless, not having locks properly installed on her apartment despite having had her life threatened in the past. She runs headlong into danger, but doesn’t have the stomach to handle the results.
What is consistent about her, however, is her unwavering empathy and confidence in the people she likes – it made her likable as a main character and fit her role as a family lawyer well.

I’ve read other books by this author before and loved them, this one didn’t quite hit the mark for me so I’ve got my hopes pinned on her next title!

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