Soft Hearts by Eric Lodin #BookReview #Debut Novel #IndieAuthor #4.5*

A Halloween Murder, a Dragon Suspect—and a Neighborhood Secret.

Harriett “Rett” Swinson is trying to rebuild her life after a failed marriage when a group of Halloween trick-or-treaters discovers her neighbor, retired English professor and poet Wanda Hightower, dead on her porch, stabbed in the back and through the heart. Was her killer a random psychopath in search of blood on All Hallow’s Eve—or one of the neighbors who helped with her lawn’s makeover gone wrong? Wanda claimed to have dirt on nearly everyone in their Downtown Raleigh neighborhood, so the list of suspects is long.

Finding the killer will require Rett to reconstruct Wanda’s turbulent past while weighing her growing attraction for Homicide Detective Darryl Schmidt against a desperate need for independence—and a growing feeling that an innocent man is being singled out by the police for the murder.


The first instalment in the Rett Swinson Mystery Series, Soft Hearts explores how the fragile vulnerability of human beings can become their greatest strength.

An Accomplished, Well-Paced Mystery!

A thoroughly immersive read, and one which had me hooked to the very end!

Harriet Swinson, known as Rett, is trying to piece her life back together after a failed marriage. She lives in a small community and there is palpable shock when, on Hallowe’en, a near neighbour is found stabbed to death on her porch. Was it a random killing or is the murderer closer to home? The deceased woman, a retired English professor, had a falling out with the majority of her neighbours and had indicated that she had dirt on most, if not all, of them so suspicion falls on the community as a whole. Rett has the feeling that the police are jumping to conclusions and fears for the young man they have in their sights for this crime – can she solve the case and save an innocent?

This is an accomplished piece of writing which belies the fact that it is the author’s debut; an imaginative mystery, this is well-paced and full of surprises hidden in the many twists and turns and I relished each and every one. As with all the best books, there is a lot happening – and not just relating to the mystery. There is a spark of romantic interest going on, but finding out who the killer is takes precedence and there is no shortage of suspects; I had almost everyone in the frame at some time or another but even then I didn’t get it right! When it was all done and dusted I was rather in awe of the author’s skill at dishing up misdirection. A thoroughly satisfying read and, hopefully, the first of many. My only criticism is that perhaps a sharper title to reflect the contents and a more impactful cover would possibly get this one the attention it fully deserves. A real humdinger of a mystery which I’m happy to recommend and give 4.5*.

My thanks to the author for providing me with a copy and trusting me with his debut; this is – as always – my honest, original and unbiased review.

Tags: mystery

Author Details

Author Eric Lodin lives in North Carolina with his wife, children, and a mischievous Havanese. Soft Hearts is his first mystery novel.

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