Her Final Breath by Carolyn Arnold

Posted on February 22, 2023 by Nadene @ Totally Addicted to Reading in Reviews / 6 Comments

Her Final Breath, the seventh book in Carolyn Arnold’s Amanda Steele series, delivered another suspenseful, intense and gripping police procedural. Fans of the genre will want to pick up this installment and follow Amanda and her partner, Trent, on their trail of yet another serial killer.


Her Final Breath by Carolyn ArnoldTitle: Her Final Breath
Author(s): Carolyn Arnold
Series: Detective Amanda Steele #7
Also in this series: The Little Grave , Stolen Daughters , The Silent Witness , Black Orchid Girls , Her Frozen Cry , Last Seen Alive , Taken Girls , Her Last Words , Missing Before Daylight
Published by Bookouture on February 17, 2023
Pages: 323
Genre(s): Crime Fiction
Source: Netgalley
Format: eArc
Purchase: Amazon|Audible
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
Series Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Faint sunlight dapples the two figures lying on the ground. The mother cradles her daughter close to her side, a stuffed toy elephant next to them. Leaves from the tall trees fall onto their faces, but neither moves to brush them off.
When a dog walker in a local Virginia park finds the bodies of a mother and daughter, Detective Amanda Steele is first on the scene. Her own daughter has a toy just like the girl’s elephant and seeing the child like this is her worst nightmare come true. Heartbroken, she vows to get justice.
They quickly get an ID—Jill Archer and six-year-old Charlotte were reported missing last week, but interviewing Jill’s husband, Roy, Amanda’s gut tells her he is hiding something. When the autopsy reveals a terrible pattern of bruises, she’s certain that a domestic argument escalated out of control, and tiny Charlotte got caught in the crossfire. But just as Amanda is about to arrest Roy, another grave is found, containing another mother and daughter.
Desperate for a lead, she goes to every place the women could have been targeted, and learns from a concerned ER nurse about Leanne Reilly and her young daughter, Gracie, who haven’t been heard from in a week. Amanda hopes that Leanne has simply left her deadbeat husband, but she’s gripped by the fear that they are the killer’s latest victims. Now every second counts for Amanda to find the family and stop a little girl’s nightmare before it ends in tragedy…


Her Final Breath began when a dog walker witnessed a fire and called the fire department. While putting out the fire, they discovered a shallow grave which held the bodies of a mother and child. They called Detective Amanda Steele to the scene. Their investigation led them to missing report filed by the victims’ husband/father. In cases like this, the husband is usually considered the prime suspect and in this situation; it seemed likely seeing that the body of the mother showed signs of abuse. But did the husband do it, or was someone else responsible?

The attention grabbing prologue set the tone for the rest of the story. The suspense, intrigue and drama builds as the story progresses, slowly pulling the reader in and holding them captive to the end. This will not be an easy book to put down, as one will want to see how the story unfolds. It will keep you guessing from start to finish. 

Like all their case this one hit close to home, especially for Trent. He had a hard time keeping his personal feelings out of this one. However, Amanda provided the support he needed to remain objective. As with the previous books, Amanda continues to balance work and family. It’s hard being a single mother while juggling the demands of the job, but she makes the best of it. Having a good support system also helps. Amanda has come grown throughout the series and which each installment my respect for her grows. 

I loved how this installment built on Trent’s character. Readers get more details of his life and see the impact this case had on his mental state. Readers also get a glimpse of their new Sergeant’s human side, while learning more about her background. It made me see her in a different light. ,

Once again, Arnold showed her skill at weaving intriguing story lines, which has the effect of making readers feel like they are living the story. I look forward to Amanda and Trent’s next case, which promises to be as intense as their previous cases.


Story Evaluation
World Building
Writing Style
Overall: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star



Her Final Breath

About Carolyn Arnold

CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international best-selling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures. Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™. Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower. She currently lives just west of Toronto with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada.

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