New Release Review ~ Nothing But Good by Kess McKinley


Special Agent Jefferson Haines puts the ‘order’ in law and order. Meal kits. Gray suits. Consistent reps at the gym. But all his routines are thrown into chaos when he’s called in to catch a serial killer whose M.O. is the stuff of urban legend: the Smiley Face Killer.

Dripping paint. Wicked slashes for eyes. The taunting curl of a smiling mouth. After years evading capture, the serial killer is back again. As Jefferson races to stop the next attack, the investigation leads to the one man he thought he’d never see again, Fred ‘Finny’ Ashley.

Finny has his own theories about the killer. And they’re pretty good. Maybe too good. Now, with his career on the line, Jefferson has to figure out if his one-time best friend is the culprit or the next victim.


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5 Stars
Romantic suspense books always catch my eye but I’ve read so many great ones that I’m increasingly picky. Still, the blurb of Nothing But Good was too tempting to pass up. I was completely wrapped up in this book and shocked to learn it’s the author’s debut because it was incredibly polished.

Nothing But Good follows a FBI team as they finally get a chance to work a suspected serial murder case that’s been plaguing the Boston area for multiple years. The case was really interesting and included plenty of action, suspense, and intrigue that’s sure to satisfy romantic suspense fans. Nothing But Good lacks a lot of the investigative details that characterize procedurals so I think this story will appeal to an even broader audience. I really liked Jefferson and his no-nonsense senior partner, Caroline. They had a great dynamic and it was fun to follow their investigation. The action and pursuit scenes were very well done and kept me reading as fast as possible and at every available moment.

The second chance romance in Nothing But Good was also very satisfying. I love stories when the characters have history and I enjoyed seeing college roommates and best friends Finney and Jefferson reconnect. While the romance definitely took a back seat to the investigation in some ways, it wasn’t underdeveloped in the least. Instead, it was easy and straightforward, which made a nice contrast to the tense pursuit of the serial killer.

I finished Nothing But Good quickly and was eager to find out more about the author and her back catalog. I was completely shocked to see this was her first published work and am eager to learn what she offers next. With excitement, a sweet second chance romance, good characters, and a great suspenseful case, Nothing But Good is definitely not one to miss.

*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn’t a requirement. ***


Kess McKinley Bio

Kess is a Southerner at heart living in New England. Her debut novel, Nothing But Good is inspired in part by a cult legend in Boston and several other northern US cities about a serial killer who leaves a smiley face drawing by his victims’ bodies. She loves reading slow burn, romantic suspense, and sports romance. When she’s not writing, she’s probably hiking or enjoying a fine glass of wine.