Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Fictional Female Detectives

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish which has now found a lovely new home at That Artsy Reader Girl

I absolutely love crime thriller series. This week’s prompt has allowed me to give a shout out to all my favorite heroines, fictional female detectives. There are more female detectives that I have enjoyed but I will restrict this list to only the police procedural series that I am currently reading.

  1. Detective Erika Foster – The Erika Foster series by Robert Bryndza was my first dip into the police procedural genre and I absolutely adored Erika and her team
  2. Detective Gina Harte – I absolutely love Gina. She has annoyed me through some books but I still have love for her especially now.
  3. Detective Madison Harper – I love Madison’s storyline. She started out as a former police officer wrongly convicted. The uniqueness of her storyline and her sidekick continues to captivate me as the series progresses.
  4. Detective Ellie Reeves – I couldn’t stand Ellie when the series began. She had a knack of getting knocked out multiple times in one case, trying to solve everything alone and was caught up in a love triangle. She did grow on me eventually and is easily one of my favorites.
  5. Detective Amanda Steele – Amanda continues to grow on me. I wasn’t too sure about her in the first book but now she is definitely a favorite. I like how she is invested in her cases and how well she works with her team
  6. Private Detective Kate Marshall – Kate is different, she is a private detective and not working with the police. Her tenacity to solve cases especially involving missing persons is admirable. Plus, I love her sidekick, Tristan and the unlikely pair that they make.
  7. Detective Morgan Brookes– First met Morgan on her first day as a rookie officer on her first day and then got to watch her rise through the ranks.
  8. Detective Kay Sharpe – Kay is stationed at a small town with endless cases. Mount Chester is the perfect setting for this series and Kay is quite likeable with an interesting background as a former FBI agent. I also like the fact that she is a detective with her own many, dark secrets.
  9. Special Agent Nikki Hunt – An agent who hunts down serial killers, what is not to like? I really enjoy this series and our heroine.
  10. Detective Megan Carpenter – Megan Carpenter is one of my favourite detectives. She has a dark past. Unlike most detectives in crime thrillers who are haunted by their dark pasts, Megan embraces the darkness which is what makes her unique. When it comes to criminals, the line between right and wrong becomes blurry for her.

Honorable mentions

  • Agent Tori Hunter – Another fierce detective who never shies away from all the action.
  • Detective Kate Young – love this detective and her backstory. Kate is one detective that works in a department that seems to be working against her. She is tenacious though and quite determined even when it means going at it solo.

Are any of these detectives familiar to you? Are you reading any series featuring detectives not on this list? If you participated in this week’s TT, kindly share the link to your post. I’d like to see your list of favorite heroines too.

Review: Her Final Breath (Detective Amanda Steele #7) by Carolyn Arnold

Faint sunlight dapples the two figures lying on the ground. The mother cradles her daughter close to her side, a stuffed toy elephant next to them. Leaves from the tall trees fall onto their faces, but neither moves to brush them off.

When a dog walker in a local Virginia park finds the bodies of a mother and daughter, Detective Amanda Steele is first on the scene. Her own daughter has a toy just like the girl’s elephant and seeing the child like this is her worst nightmare come true. Heartbroken, she vows to get justice.

They quickly get an ID—Jill Archer and six-year-old Charlotte were reported missing last week, but interviewing Jill’s husband, Roy, Amanda’s gut tells her he is hiding something. When the autopsy reveals a terrible pattern of bruises, she’s certain that a domestic argument escalated out of control, and tiny Charlotte got caught in the crossfire. But just as Amanda is about to arrest Roy, another grave is found, containing another mother and daughter.

Desperate for a lead, she goes to every place the women could have been targeted, and learns from a concerned ER nurse about Leanne Reilly and her young daughter, Gracie, who haven’t been heard from in a week. Amanda hopes that Leanne has simply left her deadbeat husband, but she’s gripped by the fear that they are the killer’s latest victims. Now every second counts for Amanda to find the family and stop a little girl’s nightmare before it ends in tragedy…


Amanda Steele is another one of my favourite lead detectives. In the past, most of her cases involved a single crime. This is one of her darkest, most complex case yet and it involves a serial killer targeting mothers and daughters. We begin with a mother and daughter in captivity. You can already tell just how terrifying their situation is. The tension further heightens in the first chapter with the discovery of another mother and daughter buried in a shallow grave at a public park. At first, the detectives thought this would be an open and shut case but things didn’t quite work out that way.

This was a difficult case to read about. Although no graphic details are shared, a number of heavy, emotional themes were part of the investigation. Amanda and her partner, Trent, had such a difficult case on their hands. The suspense was high through each chapter and I could feel the pressure that they were under to stop the murders. This added to the urgency in the narrative which had me furiously turning pages in search of answers alongside the detectives.

This is yet another well-written, suspenseful, tightly-plotted installment to the Detective Amanda Steele series. Although this can be read as a standalone, I think you’d enjoy the character development even more if you read the entire series in order.

Review: Devil’s Way (Kate Marshall #4) by Robert Bryndza

When Private Investigator Kate Marshall is rushed to hospital after being pulled into a riptide current in the sea, the near-death experience leaves her shaken. During her recovery, she befriends Jean, an elderly lady on the same ward. Jean tells the harrowing story of how her three-year-old grandson, Charlie, went missing eleven years ago during a camping trip on Dartmoor.

By the time Kate is well enough to go home, she’s agreed to take on the case, but when Kate and her trusty sidekick Tristan start to look at the events of that fateful night, they discover that Jean has a dark past that could have put Charlie in jeopardy.

Was Charlie abducted? Or did he fall into Devil’s Way? A rushing river that vanishes into a gorge close to where they were camping.

When Kate and Tristan discover that a social worker who flagged concerns about Jean and her daughter was found brutally murdered shortly after Charlie vanished, it makes them question everything they thought they knew about the family…


I have always enjoyed Robert Bryndza’s books. His writing is  always so brilliant! The latest Kate Marshall installment begins with a child going missing in the middle of the night during a camping trip. On the other hand, Kate has a terrifying, near death accident and for a minute there, I thought Bryndza had gone the George R. R. Martin way and decided to just kill the protagonist. Luckily, Kate survived and took on the case to find Charlie, a 3-year-old who went missing 11 years ago.

Missing child cases are always so hard to read. I have heard of cases where kids just vanish, never to be seen again. Families are left broken, unable to move on and grappling with the hopelessness of not knowing. There is a case in Kenya about a woman who has been searching for her 4-year-old twin sons since 2012. I can’t begin to imagine the emotional turmoil and anguish. When Charlie disappeared in the night, Jean’s family was destroyed and remained so for over a decade.

This was quite a hard case to crack. There were so many dead ends and many people had moved on from the case with the passage of time. Kate and her partner, Tristan, were however determined to find answers for Charlie’s grandmother, Jean. They were afraid that the answers would not be what Jean was looking for but nonetheless, they wanted to offer her closure.

With twists and turns and a couple of red herrings, this narrative had me at the edge of my seat until the case was solved.  This was yet another heart-racing, captivating, unpredictable Kate Marshall investigation and I cannot wait for the next installment already. What a stunner!

Review: That Night at the Beach by Kate Hewitt

As mothers we never dare to delve into our worst-nightmare scenarios. What if… we might murmur to each other, and then shake our heads, telling ourselves it’ll never happen to us if we’re just good enough mothers. Yet here we are. And the steady beep of the heart monitor is the only evidence the child in front of us is alive…

It’s Labor Day weekend, so of course we went to the beach. Like we do every year. For a barbecue picnic with my best friend Rose. It’s the perfect tradition—drinks, games, burgers, music, laughter. Together with our husbands, my two teenage sons and her two daughters, we all arrived as the sun was still shimmering over the water, the whole evening ahead of us.

But nothing goes to plan. Old secrets emerge, tempers flare. And so we parents decide to leave the beach, telling the teenagers to enjoy themselves, reassuring them someone will be back to collect them in an hour or two.

But when I return a little while later, I know something is really wrong. Our teens are slurring their words, stumbling to the car. It’s clear they have been drinking and I’m shocked. I never expected our kids to behave this way. I’m bracing myself to have firm words with them in the morning, but the next day my concerns fade to nothing, when seventeen-year-old Bella claims my son Finn assaulted her.


What a poignant read! Is there anything that we wouldn’t do for our children? My prayer for my daughter has always been that she grows up safe and away from the nightmares of this world. This was Rose had hoped for her daughter but her nightmare became a reality when her daughter, Bella, informed her that she had been assaulted. Naturally, Rose was devastated and wanted to do everything to ensure that her daughter was okay and received justice. An already bad situation was made worse by the fact that the accused is Cara’s son. Cara and Rose were best friends.

The story is narrated by the two mothers. It was hard to witness their struggles even as they searched for the truth and justice. Both wanted to protect their children but as it often happens, knowing exactly how to handle such a situation can be tricky and emotionally draining. I thought that the two women were quite sympathetic and their portrayal, realistic. I was invested in their story and all that was happening around them and their reactions to it all. Rose and Cara are two very well-developed protagonists and their characters aptly helped develop the themes of family, motherhood and friendships. They handled the sensitive themes of teenage drinking and sexual assault in a manner that is realistic and had me wondering how I would have handled the same issues as a parent.

This was quite a poignant, thought-provoking read that held my attention from the first to the last page. Kate Hewitt as usual handled such delicate themes tastefully and with the sensitivity that they deserved. All in all, this is an important, compelling read. Highly recommended.

Review: A Spell of Good things by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀

Eniola is tall for his age, a boy who looks like a man. Because his father has lost his job, Eniola spends his days running errands for the local tailor, collecting newspapers, begging when he must, dreaming of a big future.

Wuraola is a golden girl, the perfect child of a wealthy family. Now an exhausted young doctor in her first year of practice, she is beloved by Kunle, the volatile son of an ascendant politician.

When a local politician takes an interest in Eniola and sudden violence shatters a family party, Wuraola and Eniola’s lives become intertwined. In her breathtaking second novel, Ayobami Adebayo shines her light on Nigeria, on the gaping divide between the haves and the have-nots, and the shared humanity that lives in between.


I was super stoked to see this ARC show up on NetGalley. Stay with Me which was Ayobami’s debut novel made quite the splash. It is one book that I have ended up discussing numerous times, even with my non-reader friends. I, therefore, received a copy of A Spell of Good Things with excitement and a little anxiety wondering whether the author will attain the magic of the first novel.

A Spell of Good Things started out slow for me. It took a little time to get into the narrative. The story begins by introducing us to Eniola, a young boy whose family is struggling financially. Eniola’s father lost his teaching job and has gone into depression after fruitlessly seraching for a new job for years. His mother is struggling to make ends meet while Eniola and his sister, Busola, are struggling with hunger, lack of school fees and seemingly, endless hopelessness. On the other hand, the author introduces us to Wuraola, a doctor from an affluent family, engaged to a politician’s son. Wuraola’s life was so far removed Eniola’s that I couldn’t help but wonder how their stories would intersect.

I didn’t even notice when the pace changed. I quickly found myself deeply engrossed in the narrative until I reached a point where I didn’t want to stop reading the book but at the same time, I couldn’t stop reading it. The imagery of modern-day Nigeria in light of political tensions and class divide was quite well done. I could visualize the setting, atmosphere and the lives of the characters. The characterization was quite good. All including the support characters were well developed which added to the richness of the narrative.

This story left me heartbroken in the end, and stunned. It swept me off my feet, took me on a journey but I wasn’t ready for that ending. It’s a book that I won’t forget easily. I remember coming to the last page, staring at nothing while wondering how to possible move on and pick another book. I can’t recommend A Spell of Good Things enough. It’s a stunning read, one that every reader should experience.