I have devoured all of the books in Nora McFarland’s Lilly Hawkins series. The third book in the series “Going to the Bad” is not only a great mystery but also an exploration of a variety of relationships as well.

Lilly Hawkins, the main character, is a TV news photographer, called “a shooter”, in Bakersfield, California. In what is normally a man’s job, Lilly has had to be tough.

Nora knows quite a bit about this occupation. After completing her MFA from the University of Southern California’s school of cinema and television she actually had a job working as T.V. News Photographer in Bakersfield and realized what a perfect job this would be for a main character in a mystery. Nora points out that it is a job that requires working grueling hours at a frantic pace and reporting on everything from heinous crimes to bizarrely comical feature stories.

The strength of a series often lies in the characters. Lilly offers us a flawed, but smart heroine. She may not always follow the rules, but her heart is in the right place. She alone is enough reason to read this series. Lilly is surrounded by a fascinating cast of characters. I especially love the wonder twins, Teddy and Freddy. They offer comic relief and remind us to look beneath the surface of people. Sometimes when we give people a chance, they will surprise us in positive ways.

The story opens with Lilly listening to the police scanner, hearing the police reporting multiple gunshot wounds and asking for an ambulance to be sent to her address. She spends much of the rest of the book unraveling the mystery of who did the shooting.

I strongly recommend this book and the previous two books in this series. The first book, “A Bad Day’s Work” explored the work of a TV photographer and I gained a great deal of admiration for the work these people do. The second book “Hot, Shot and Bothered” explores environmentalism and wild fires in California. All three books are fast paced reads. Despite the serious nature of the books, they also offer some laugh out loud comic relief as well. This series was originally conceived as a trilogy. I hope that the author will reconsider and explore these characters further.

Five stars out of five.


In accordance with FTC guidelines for reviewers, I would like to clarify that this book was provided to me by the author free of charge.  I am not compensated by the author or publisher for my review.  All they expect is an honest review of the work