#BookReview – THE FIFTH REFLECTION: A Dot Meyerhoff Mystery by Ellen Kirschman

Police psychologist Dr. Dot Meyerhoff is pulled into the vortex of a terrible crime involving an eccentric photographer whose images of nude children make her a prime suspect in the disappearance of her own daughter. The principal investigator in the case is a young officer whose dedication to work and obsession with finding the missing child is tearing his own family apart. Trapped between her allegiance to the investigator, her complicated connections to the photographer, and her unstable relationship with the police chief, Dot must find a way to help everyone involved. As Dot’s psychological expertise and determination contribute to solving the mystery, her involvement with the missing child’s extended, dysfunctional family brings her face-to-face with painful psychological issues of her own. The Fifth Reflection delivers a chilling, up-close look at the psychological strain of investigating Internet crimes against children, the complexities of being married to a cop, and the deadliness of jealousy.

Release Date: July 11, 2017

Amazon / Amazon UK / Amazon CA


My Review

The Fifth Reflection is one of those books that left me with a mixed impression of good, bad, and indifferent.

I’ll start with the good. The author excels at showing us the emotional strain on the cops who work cases involving kids. We see the toll the job takes on their physical and psychological health. We watch as their personal lives crumble. These aspects of the story are compelling and poignant, reminding us that the men and women working these cases often suffer a private trauma of their own.

I can’t imagine what it feels like to believe, even if it’s not true, that you alone are responsible for preventing an innocent child from being murdered.

The mystery and whodunit aspect of the story left me feeling indifferent. I wasn’t surprised by the outcome, though there is an interesting twist along the way.

Then there’s the bad stuff. I wanted to shake some sense into Dot. She is a successful, intelligent woman in a high-powered job, who is far too meek and submissive in her personal life. And that brings me to the crux of my problem, which is the weird triangle between Dot, her fiance Frank, and his photography teacher JJ. So much is wrong, from my perspective, with the interactions between the three of them. Frank gushes about JJ as if she is his first teenage crush, and he appears to have absolutely no concern for how his behavior affects Dot. In fact, his responses to her seem arrogant. Dot, for her part, tiptoes around him, not wanting to question his infatuation. These are two middle-aged adults, but it feels more like two extremely young, immature adults. JJ, the free-spirited beauty, is apparently oblivious to the fact that she has wedged herself into the middle of this relationship. Considering JJ is supposed to be all about peace, love and supporting her fellow humans, her insensitivity seems totally out of place.

Her jewelry, like her photography, is edgy, daring, provocative. Everything about her, except her soft voice and unhurried way of moving, has an in-you-face feel to it.

I have not read the other books in this series, and I had no problem understanding Dot’s character. This story stands well on its own.

*I received an advance ebook copy from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review.*


Thanks for reading. 🙂