Count to Ten Review
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After a short leave of absence for an injury sustained while on duty, Mia Mitchell returns to work as a homicide detective for the Chicago PD. The department temporarily partners her with fire marshal Reed Solliday to inspect a fire where a body was found among the ashes. Once Solliday determines an accelerant was used, they have a homicide on their hands.

Mia’s past is anything but good, and she fights those demons by bringing criminals to justice—often working herself to exhaustion—and beating herself up for the mistakes she made. Hounded by a reporter who puts her life in danger, Mia works to find an arsonist with a vicious streak before he counts to ten and disappears for good.

Reed was a child of a less-than-perfect foster care system until the Sollidays adopted him and helped put him on the right path. He believes people choose to be good or bad—it’s not something out of their control. Though a psychiatrist tells him the arsonist has no control where the fire is concerned, Reed thinks there’s more to it than that. The arsonist seems to be on a rampage of revenge, and the fires he sets is symbolic of something much more disturbing.

  
 
Attracted to each other, Mia and Reed try to have a no-strings-attached affair while they work the case, but Mia keeps sharing too much of herself, and Reed can’t let go of his dead wife’s memory. As the arsonist turns his hatred toward Reed and Mia, they fight to save a relationship that neither one of them is sure can work.

Count to Ten sent chills down my spine. It’s scary how easily Ms. Rose’s villain slipped in out of his victim’s houses—and how easily he overpowered them. Makes you stop and wonder how safe we really are in our homes—but, wait, this is fiction, right? Whew! Glad I remembered that.

Well-rounded characters, with difficult problems, and a complicated plot, make this an intense read. At times, though, the story feels a little heavy, and I wouldn’t exactly call it fast-paced—but it does explode onto your mind with the grim aspects of fire and the destruction it causes.

Count to Ten is not a light-hearted read, but you’ll enjoy it all the more for that fact—because every one of us needs a peek into the dark side of life every once in a while to keep our senses on alert. Revenge is nasty business, and this story will make you wonder if you’ve upset someone in the past who might come after you later for payback.

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