Book Review Thursday: The Red Queen’s Run by Bourne Morris

It’s Book Review Thursday. Come back each week to get a peek inside what authors I love and what storylines inspire me. 

Red Queen's Run coverFaculty meetings can be contentious at times, but associate dean Meredith “Red” Solaris has noticed that their meetings lately have been downright hostile. She’s afraid that one day there will be bloodshed, and she has no idea how her friend, Henry Brooks, dean of the journalism school, handles it all without going crazy.

Unfortunately, she’s about to find out, because three days after their last meeting, Henry is found dead on the stairwell at the school. Red believes the murderer is one of three people: Simon, who used to be the dean, but now, he is a bitter man who is fighting the changes that are happening to the curriculum and to his beloved school; George, a pompous egotistical bully who wants to deny the tenure of an associate professor, and also supports Simon’s views on the changes; and Edwin, the third senior member (along with Simon and George) who is aggressively fighting with Henry about anything and everything.

Red is named interim dean, much to the chagrin of the three men. After Detective Joe Morgan tells her Henry didn’t die of natural causes, Red starts to take a closer look at all of her co-workers. She learns that Henry wasn’t as quiet and shy as she thought, either: it seems he was having an affair with a faculty member’s wife. Did the affair get him killed?

In between dealing with the everyday pressures at work, Red and Joe start dating, and they share any information they learn along the way. But everyone Red suspects seem to have an alibi. As she digs through Henry’s files about the other professors, she discovers one of the faculty has been accused of plagiarism, but she cannot find the name of the person in Henry’s notes. Was there a confrontation that turned fatal?

Red starts to receive threatening notes, telling her to quit her job or suffer the consequences. And the deeper the investigation goes, the more dangerous it gets for Red. With the killer closing in, will she be able to figure out the truth before it’s too late?

This is an excellent book by Ms. Morris. As a former teacher, I could relate to the contentious meetings and backstabbing that was going on behind closed doors at the university. She gives the reader an exciting mix of intrigue, mystery and romance for a man-wary Red, and conveys her conflicted feelings about suspecting someone Red knows as being a possible murderer with the right mix of anger and sadness. I did figure out who did it, but the downward spiral she sends the characters through is just heart stopping and gut wrenching. I thoroughly enjoyed The Red Queen’s Run, and I am eagerly looking forward to the next book in this series!

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