Hello and welcome to my stop of the The Binding Room Harlequin Trade Publishing’s Summer 2022 blog tour! A huge thanks to Justine Sha for inviting me to be part of this blog tour. I enjoyed the first book of the series when I read it last year, and I’ve been looking forward to the sequel ever since. I personally sadly didn’t think it was as strong as her debut, but early reviews do show that most people seem to disagree with me… More about my thoughts below.

Title: The Binding Room
(Inspector Anjelica Henley #2)

Author: Nadine Matheson
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Detective
First published: July 12th 2022
Publisher: Hanover Square Press
Finished reading: June 23rd 2022
Pages: 512

“I haven’t got an issue with God holding her. It’s the lying to my face that I can’t deal with.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***


After a solid debut and start of the Inspector Anjelica Henley series last year, I have been looking forward to return for more. I like it when a detective thriller series is able to offer a refreshing angle, and this series seems to be doing exactly that with the focus on race and discrimination and a black female detective lead. I fully expected to have an excellent time with this sequel as well, and there were certainly parts of The Binding Room that were very successful, but overall sadly I personally didn’t find it to be as strong as her debut. I’ll try to explain why below.

First of all, I have to say that I can still really appreciate the focus on race and discrimination. I’m all for diversity and in a way it’s strange that we don’t see a diverse case of detective leads and other supporting characters more often; both in race, nationality and beliefs. I don’t think I’ve encountered a series with a black female detective lead before, and Anjelica Henley is without doubt a fascinating character. The focus on the discrimination the different characters have to face both inside the police and during the investigation is realistically developed and can be a true eye-opener. That said, I do think The Binding Room took things a little too far with too much focus on the racism and discrimination, which can end up having an opposite (and negative) effect. While important, too much of the same angle can get repetitive and it can distract from the original message.

Now comes something that is a personal pet peeve: the religious angle. I’m never a fan of religion in a story and while there is no real preaching and it’s more of a cult-like religion focus, there was just something about this element that made me enjoy the story less. This has mostly to do with my personal aversion and not with how it was incorporated into the plot though. What I also found highly frustrating was the focus on the cheating element and the love triangle vibes not related to the murder investigation; they distracted from the plot, were in my eyes completely unnecessary and they were one of the main reasons why this sequel didn’t work as well for me. It also made me like the main character considerably less…

The cast of characters is a diverse and interesting bunch with each of them having their own background, past, issues and secrets. It is highly recommended to read the first book before starting The Binding Room though, because this sequel jumps right in without giving you any pointers on what happened before… And you will be missing out on key background information otherwise. The case itself is fascinating and there are many twists and turns involved as you try to discover the truth behind the Caleb’s death as well as the other victims. The twists were quite effective as well, because I never guessed the full truth until it was finally revealed.

I do have to say that I think that The Binding Room is way overlong and could have benefitted from eliminating certain elements and sideplots. The pace wasn’t always consistent and certain parts started to drag considerably… A more condensed story with a tighter plot would have made a much bigger impact. That said, I know that I’m in the minority and most people do seem to love this sequel a lot more. If you like your detective thrillers with a refreshing angle and don’t mind what I’ve mentioned before in my review, this series might just be a great fit for you.


Nadine Matheson is a criminal defense attorney and winner of the City University Crime Writing competition. She lives in London, UK.


Author Website // Twitter: @NadineMatheson // Facebook: @NadineMathesonWriter

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