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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Murders Began

Nicole Long Legal Thriller #3

ASIN: Moore Digital Media

Publisher: Moore Digital Media

Publication Date: 02/08/2023

Format: e-book

My Rating: 5 Stars

A cop willing to climb the blue wall, a reporter in pursuit of the truth, and a prosecutor who has to choose between her career and justice. ⚖️

New to homicide, Loren Logan is hot on a string of cold cases where the evidence doesn’t add up.

Blogger and podcaster Blake Hardin Tatum has agreed to help Logan even though she’s wary of cops. Unfortunately, Logan’s need to keep the off-the-books investigation confidential clashes with Tatum’s need to grow her audience and her revenue.

When the trail of damning evidence leads straight to the top, will prosecutor Nicole Long be sober enough to do what she must to assure justice for all?

The Murders Began is the next smart crime fiction novel in the Nicole Long legal thriller series.

My Review

My favorite legal crime thriller author (Casey Cort and Nicole Long Series), and podcaster, Aime Austin, returns following WITHOUT CONSENT with her popular Nicole Long Legal Series #3, THE MURDERS BEGAN.

Nicole is caught in the middle between her boss, a cop, and a crime podcaster in this riveting smartly written thriller that will have you turning the pages into the wee hours of the morning, while anxiously awaiting the next installment.

THE MURDERS BEGAN is an intelligent crime fiction novel that explores the intricacies of solving cold cases and delves into the moral and ethical complexities those pursuing justice face. With its multi-faceted characters and a plot of twists and turns, this legal thriller will captivate readers who enjoy thought-provoking and emotionally charged crime fiction.

As we pick up from the last book:

NICOLE THERIOT LONG: Single, white female, head of Major Crimes, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, and struggling alcoholic. She continues to maintain her sobriety while being controlled by her boss, Lori Pope.

LORRAINE (Lori) POPE:, Cuyahoga County Prosecuting Attorney. She expects Nicole to cross moral lines to get what she wants. She is corrupt and uses the law for her own agenda.

"Lori Pope was some kind of grim reaper. I hadn't seen anyone surrounded by so much death outside a funeral home." —Loren Logan

DETECTIVE LOREN LOGAN: A determined cop challenging the blue wall. The tenacious detective joins forces with podcaster Blake Hardin Tatum, whom we met in the last book. In THE MURDERS BEGAN Logan pulls the parties together to develop a plan to take down the corruption while trying not to get caught until they get all the evidence.

They meet secretly, which is a lot of fun, with cameo appearances featuring Casey Cort, Justin, and little Simon. (so happy they are together)!

BLAKE HARDIN TATUM: 46-yr old black female, a former reporter at the Plain Dealer and her job was cut. She hosts a crime podcast and blog —The Murders Began —cold cases about the corruption in Cleveland. She sharp, witty, with a big following and seeking the truth.

How will they take Pope down without jeopardizing their careers? She pulls all the strings. They need proof before other innocent victims are used as collateral damage. This has them facing many dangers.

The author keeps things lively with alternating POV: from Nicole, Loren, and Blake (podcast episodes). All the corruption starts with Lori Pope—there are cases she uses to satisfy her agenda. They are running out of time.

The narrative is gripping with this trio of compelling characters and different personalities —we get a front-row seat! Nicole is caught in the middle, a prosecutor torn between her career and the pursuit of justice while her boss pushes her to indict those who are innocent (being framed), and all the while, the real murderers are going free.

From this trio, we get high-stakes, non-stop action, tension, ethical dilemmas, a prosector hanging on to keep from drinking, a fight against corruption to try and bring down the insider, and best of all, we hear the exciting podcast episodes.

Starting with Season 2 with Episodes 1-13, THE MURDERS BEGAN with host Blake Hardin Tatum. The podcast was very well done and added to the narrative for an engaging and entertaining read. The author also has included some podcast episodes from THE MURDERS BEGAN on her website and newsletters. So check it out.

The readers and listeners get a more intimate in-depth experience mirroring and following the crime stories from beginning to end with the podcast. From court, interviews from the victims and families and this season she is pursuing what happens to people on the fringes of the criminal justice system—hearing their stories.

While at the same time, Logan, a cop is trying to keep it under wraps (off the book) to catch the insider and podcaster, Tatum wants to build her audience and Long, attorney is in between.

An addictive thriller filled with heart that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Loved the characters—as entertaining as any legal thriller you will read. WOW! The author keeps getting better and better. I loved these three dynamic personalities working together to fight against the corrupt justice system.

If you enjoy intelligent legal crime thrillers, I highly recommend The Nicole Long Series, but I would start with the Casey Cort Series (I have read them all) to get a complete understanding of all the characters. The characters are compelling and highly relatable and the author is a pro at building suspense and tension.

THE MURDERS BEGAN is a brilliant execution from Aime Austin. Engrossing, fast-paced, well written, twisty, and tightly plotted. Another first-class legal crime thriller! Austin's experience as a lawyer and famous crime podcast host (A Time to Thrill) shines on every page of her dazzling legal thrillers.

Her expertise further enhances your reading experience with creative podcast episodes, razor-sharp dialogue, captivating characters, intense courtroom scenes, and riveting suspense.

I highly encourage you to do so if you have not listened to or subscribed to her podcast. Her voice is meant for the radio/podcast/TV, and her shows/episodes are fascinating!

Congrats! Aime, on your 28th novel! I would love to see a TV series with Casey Cort and Nicole Long.

UPCOMING: I cannot wait until Jan 2025, when long-timers like myself get to see (Nicole Long and Casey Cort #4) join forces in His Last Mistress: A nail-biting social thriller with a heartbreaking twist. (I have pre-ordered) and cannot wait. We get more from Lulu Mueller and Richard Sinclair (characters from past books). It is going to be juicy!

I am all IN! Aime is always a pre-order! I highly recommend all her books.

READER'S NOTE: The novel is based on events from 2008-2016 in Cuyahoga County, Ohio—a corporate scandal and many indictments. You can read all about it online.

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

My Rating: 5 Stars +

Pub Date: Feb 8, 2024







About the Author

Aime Austin is the author of the Casey Cort and Nicole Long Series of legal thrillers. She is also the host of the podcast, A Time to Thrill.

When she’s not writing crime fiction or interviewing brilliant creators for her podcast, she’s in a yoga pose, knitting, or reading. Aime splits her time between Los Angeles and Budapest. Before turning to writing, Aime practiced family and criminal law in Cleveland, Ohio. WEBSITE

Want to hear Aime chatting about books and writing? Check out her podcast appearances:

Check out my

Q&A Interview with Aime

where we go behind the scenes of ABUSED (Casey Cort Series) and this fascinating author!







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