What The Fly Saw, by Frankie Y. Bailey, A Book Review

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Great New Police Procedural

The year is  2020. It’s a cold, snowy January in Albany, New York.  That is where the new Detective Hannah McCabe series is set. Slightly in the future, Hannah McCabe and her partner, Mike Baxter, are back for book two, in What The Fly Saw.

It was my first book by Frankie Bailey.  I enjoyed it very much, and will look forward to future books.  Ms. Bailey has written a very entertaining police procedural.

There is something mellow about police detective novels, which is not to say they aren’t exciting at the same time.  The way the detectives follow the clues, taking us along every step of the way.  Through exciting moments, through the crime scene where we learn of the early clues, and then as they interview each person whether witness or suspect.

I like that it shows the routine of an investigation along with the highs and lows. It makes the book seem accurate and realistic, and it’s a big part of what makes them so intriguing.  All of that is true of this second entry in the Hannah McCabe series.

I decided to listen in audio.  I’m very glad I did.  Jorjeana Marie has a great narration voice that made listening easy. She has a good vocal range that enabled her to distinguish the various voices, male included.

The Story

As the story begins, Lisa Nichols, the suspect in a serial murder case, is found dead at a psychiatric hospital, apparent suicide.  I believe she was part of the crimes committed in the first book in the series.  We don’t hear too much more about her, but she is there for a reason as we will come to see.

Next scene, a funeral director leaves his family during a big snowstorm to check on his business that includes several bodies scheduled for services and burial. He plans on staying the night be certain everything stays okay.

Turns out everything is not all right.  In the morning he is found dead with an arrow through his chest.

The investigation of his murder revolves around his family, his neighborhood, and members of his church.  It’s complicated by the victim’s mood of late.  He’d been depressed since his good friend had died.  He’s been acting distant and odd.  Yet no one knows why.  Not the church’s counselor, not the minister, not the wife or family, and not mysterious woman who arrives in town at the same time.

Everyone is keeping secrets.  Each of them has their own suspicions—and reasons for them.  In between the clues and the investigation, McCabe has family issues that include politics.  Not what she needs in the midst of their case.  Families do have a way of keeping life interesting.

It is very well detailed, and so interesting to go thru the clues with McCabe and Partner Mike Baxter.  Just when you think you might know the answer, something new pops up. Considering the detective are willing to attend a seance to learn answers, it’s clear they are determined.  Still, what they find is even more twisted than they expect.

Then there is a confession. Even that doesn’t stop McCabe and Baxter from looking further. The truth isn’t always what it seems to be.

The Near Future:  What Will It Bring?

It is slightly  futuristic, though close enough that it could almost be today. There are several differences that I believe the author correctly predicts.  It is fun to see what she comes up with. Ms. Bailey has a winner with her character, Hannah. I very much enjoyed McCabe both her determination and her decorum.

The only part I didn’t understand is why there was a mention of zombies and/or why she would include them. They were just mentioned a few times (so far). That was fine with me, since I’m not particularly fond of zombies and their genre.I don’t see any reason for their presence, but perhaps they will be important in future books in the series. That said, it didn’t interfere with the story since they were just a mention.

The plot and the investigation were well done, intriguing and twisting.  It has a satisfying conclusion, at the same time that it raises new suspicions at end.  Clearly a  clue to another book in the series.

The Author

Besides being a fine author, Frankie Y. Bailey is currently a professor in the School of Criminal Justice at the University of Albany, New York.  Her research include crime history and crime and mass media and popular culture.

Her background certainly gives her the knowledge and experience to write her many books.   She has published many non-fiction books, along with her other mystery series, the Silver Dagger Series. That series features a criminal justice professor and crime historian name Lizzie Stuart. Sounds like another interesting concept for a series, doesn’t it?

Since it is a series, and they are connected, you may want to start with book one, The Red Queen Dies.  It’s always a pleasure to know the background of the characters as you go along.  The first takes place in the year 2019.  It is going to be interesting to see where the coming years will lead as the series continues.



Merry Citarella, often writing as Merrci, writes on a wide range of topics. Recently relocated to the Oregon Coast in the northwest United States, she frequently writes travel features on the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She specializes in health and aging, Alzheimer’s Disease, food, lifestyle, and book reviews. For more information you can see her on The Writers’Door. You can read more articles here or at her websites Mystery Suspense Reviews .

Author: Merry Citarella

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