Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Book Review: On the Sly

By Sara Steven

Sylvia Wilson, a bar owner in St. Louis, Missouri, arrives at work to discover the body of an ex-police officer in her locked bar.

The police focus on her as their primary suspect, so she decides to launch her own investigation into the dead man and his accomplices.

But when the killer sends her clear messages that she and her loved ones are on his radar, she knows it’s just a matter of time before someone ends up dead. (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

On The Sly is a gritty experience. From the get go with the very first chapter, Sylvia attempts to enter her bar but finds the door is blocked by a dead body. The way it’s described was so matter-of-fact–it is what it is, and Sylvia is going to roll with the punches from it. That seems to be her mode of operation throughout most of the story. She is the quintessential badass who has been through enough in her young life, that the only way for her to deal with such a traumatic event is to deal with it. No hysterics needed. 

Given the circumstances surrounding the death, the only reasonable person who could have committed such a crime would be Sylvia herself, but the reader knows that’s not the case. We go right along with her while she attempts to figure out the truth, despite the pushback given to her by authorities. The more she delves into possible suspects, the more she makes herself look like she’s the number one suspect, but she chooses to continue on in order to get to the truth. It’s actually comical how frequently she has to reach out to the detectives on the case in order to feed them clues, and even though they’ve asked her several times not to involve herself, it’s obvious they’d be lost without her help. 

The culprit doesn’t want Sylvia involved. She’s unearthing too much, which instantly puts a target on her loved ones’ backs. One of the most unsettling moments for me involved a scene when Sylvia arrives home and finds that her beloved dogs have been tampered with. That part really affected me, because it involved not only the fact that her secure, safe space has been invaded, but her pets who have nothing to do with the situation had been messed with, and it really bothered me. While I’d felt like I was on a mission with Sylvia the whole time I read On The Sly, it was in that moment where I really committed to wanting to solve the murder just as much as she did!

There were a lot of moments where I was unsure of what would happen next, and it kept the story suspenseful and engaging. It was a great thriller experience!

Thanks to Wendy L. Koenig and Author Marketing Experts for the book in exchange for an honest review.

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