The Stars Shine Bright by Sibella Giorello
Once again Special Agent, Raleigh Harmon, is working to redeem her career in the FBI and to restart her life. With her mom in a psychiatric facility on one coast and her fiancee on the other, Raleigh is caught in the middle, not knowing where she is supposed to live or who she is supposed to be. Agreeing to an undercover operation seems to be the perfect way to delay the choice. Sent on assignment to a thoroughbred horse track, Raleigh puts her real life on hold and instead poses as a rich niece set to inherit her aunt's horse business, at a track where all the horses keep mysteriously dying.
With only her handler, Special Agent Jack Stephenson, to talk to, Raleigh has never felt more alone.
Can she repair her relationship with a mother who refuses to see her? Will her fiancee ever understand her need to be an agent? Can she uncover the killer at the track before they succeed in killing her?
With the world looking so dark, will Raleigh ever see the stars shine bright again?
This is the fifth book in the Raleigh Harmon series. There are times when reading the book that I did feel like I had read it before. Oh wait, Raleigh is censored by the FBI again? She just got chewed out by her boss and told that she's demoted again? She has to restart her career at the bottom again? Seems like I've already read this.
Raleigh's roller coaster career in the FBI is very repetitive throughout all the Raleigh Harmon books. That being said, I liked this book best. Raleigh is a much more in-depth character in this book. She seems more vulnerable, more confused, more real. Instead of being someone who always knows the right thing to do, she is struggling. She realizes there's not always a right thing to do but that she has to live with the consequences of whatever choice she's made. I enjoyed seeing her develop as a character and make discoveries about herself throughout the book.
The mystery in The Stars Shine Bright is completely unique. I loved the horse track setting and learning how things work in the background at a horse race. I'm always impressed by how Giorello can come up with dirt that can help solve the case (and I mean actual dirt, like from the ground). Special details such as how Raleigh can cheat a lie detector test make the story seem that much more believable.
I do have to say that if you were to pick up this book without reading the other Raleigh Harmon books that you would be a little lost on the backstory. There is a lot in the previous 4 books that just can't be summed up easily in a couple of paragraphs.
If you have read the other Raleigh Harmon books, definitely read this one as well. It finishes up the series nicely. If you haven't read the others, don't start here.
I give the book 4 out of 5 stars.
I receieved a complementary Kindle version of this book from NetGalley. All opinions are my own.