Serene (A Dr. Rachel E. Color-Me-Mystery: Book 1) by Jim Musgrave

Publisher: Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Member’s Titles

Date of publication: July 17th, 2016

Part of a series: Yes

Which series: Dr. Rachel E. Color-Me-Mystery

Serene – Book 1

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Book synopsis:

This is the mystery that establishes Dr. Rachel Edelstein as a sleuth with a super-power. Raised on an ashram in California, she is molested by Guru Bhagwan Sharma, but he pays for her college education after her parents are found dead inside a lab working on a secret experiment called “Serene.”

While working as a psychiatrist in the Israeli Army, she treats two IDF soldiers who had also been members of the Omshanti ashram back home. When they are murdered in a strangely anti-Semitic way, and no DNA evidence can be found, she decides to resign her commission and return to California to try to solve the murders.

After she teams up with another Jewish psychiatrist, Dr. Jacob Stein, who attends the same Kaballah study group, she is recruited by a scientist who worked with her parents on Serene. Dr. Joshua Lawrence implants the beta test device in her brain, but instead of allowing her to control her own libido, she is able to see the sex traumas of others.

This is the first mystery in a series that features illustrations that can be colored by the reader. Watch for more Dr. Rachel Edelstein and Dr. Jacob Stein Techno-Mysteries.

My review:

I was intrigued by the premise of this book. It is part adult coloring book and part mystery. I made the huge mistake of leaving my Kindle on with one of the pictures up, and my 11-year-old had a look. She had no clue what it was but still.

If I had the paperback (or even hardcover) of the book, I would have been coloring in those pictures. They looked fun to color and did go with the story.

The story, itself was also very decent. In the beginning, it was all over the place, which is something I hate in a book. Once I got past Rachel’s backstory, the story progressed. The author did an excellent job keeping who the bad guy a mystery until the very end.

Rachel had overcome a lot in this book. Her parents moved her to a commune when she was 10. She was chosen as a “bride of passion” and raped when she was 12. Then her parents died at a young age. That’s a lot for a kid, and Rachel has issues. She returns to the commune after two IDF soldiers are murdered in horrific ways. She agrees to become the beta tester for a project that her parents were working on when they died.

I won’t say much about the book after that point. but I will say that it is full of androids, some bizarre sexual practices, and one woman who is looking for answers.

I did like that the Kabbalah was mentioned here. Rachel was a student of it, and the author did get into some of what it is about, but not enough. I wished that he did because I find it fascinating.

The end of the book was a surprise. I wasn’t expecting the killer to be who it was. I am pretty good at figuring out mysteries, and this one I didn’t and it still chafes at me.

How many stars will I give Serene? 4

Will I reread? Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends? Yes but with a warning about the coloring book pages.

Age range: Adult

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

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