Book Review: The First Cut

Title: The First Cut (Doctors of Darkness #3)

Author: Ellery A. Kane

Narrator: Kristin James




There’s a thin line between love and murder. 

When “Love Doctors” Ian and Kate Culpepper are brutally murdered in their Carmel mansion on Valentine’s Day, Ava knows it’s karma. Because Ian’s leaving her for perfect Kate four years ago had cut her bone deep. And then they had the nerve to show up here, on her turf. With their perfect house and their perfect daughter and their matching perfect smiles.

It’s no wonder Ava can’t stop watching. It’s no wonder she can’t let go.

But Ian is far from perfect, and Ava owes a debt too. For the unforgivable thing they’d done together. The dark deed that severed their marriage in two. When Ava’s name is found inked in blood at the crime scene, a reckoning seems inevitable. Someone knows what she’s hiding. Someone sees what she’s done. And karma is ready to collect its pound of flesh.

About the series….

Straight from the mind of a forensic psychologist comes an addictive new series of betrayal, lust, revenge, and murder. These doctors earned their degrees from the dark side. And once you start listening, you won’t be able to stop.



My Review

5/5 Stars

Ava is a psychologist with a heavy past. She has her favorite clients and some that she merely tolerates. After the twin murders of famous love doctors Ian and Kate Culpepper are announced, she starts to see the ways that the celebrities affected her various patients. None of them are more affected than Ava herself. Her mysterious past is tied to Ian’s in a dark and tumultuous way. And that past is coming back to haunt her. Someone wants her to go down for their murders but who?

First thing about this book is even though it is part of a series, it is a standalone. The characters within this story are not ones who have appeared in the series before. The First Cut starts with a bang and held me from the very first chapter. I found the main character, Ava, to be an interesting character. She was an unreliable narrator of sorts in the way that she introduces the reader to her world. Slowly, the truth is revealed through a series of memories and personal revelations. Ava isn’t a good person, but she isn’t a murderer either.

Every character in the story is fleshed out well, not just Ava. Throughout the story we see the way that Ava’s teenage years have affected her, and how that played out to what happened to her as an adult. As she comes to terms with her ex-husband’s death, she starts to evaluate her own behavior, getting to the root of why she behaves like she does. At the end of the story, we see a completely different Ava, and I loved how real her character development really felt.

The mystery and suspense in this story were good. I didn’t know who was the murderer until the last hour of the book. It was one of those mysteries so well-written that anyone could have done it. I spent the first half of the audiobook thinking it was Ava herself.

I definitely recommend this book to fans of psychological thrillers/mysteries.

Before this book, this author was new to me, but I will be reading the other books in this series for sure.

Narration was perfect.

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.

Published by Author Kayla Krantz

Proud author responsible for Dead by Morning and The Council, fascinated by the dark and macabre. Stephen King is her all time inspiration mixed in with a little bit of Eminem and some faint remnants of the works of Edgar Allen Poe. When she began writing, she started in horror but it somehow drifted into thriller. She loves the 1988 movie Heathers. She was born and raised in Michigan but traveled across the country to where she currently resides in Texas.

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