It all started with a short story: In June of 2012, Iris Johansen published With Open Eyes, co-authored with her son, Roy. Now, by this point, there were already almost 100 Iris Johansen books out in the world, many featuring the forensic sculptor Eve Duncan, but this collaboration introduced readers to a new character: Kendra Michaels.
Kendra is a music therapist, but she is also a law enforcement agency’s dream come true. Not only is she brilliant, but she was blind for the first twenty years of her life before a radical surgical procedure gave her the ability of sight. It left Kendra with hyper-senses, such as a heightened sense of smell and acute hearing. She can recognize the sound of a particular brand of car engine, or detect trace scents at crime scenes the agents may have missed. Still, Kendra isn’t keen on investigative work, but she can’t deny that she is great at it. In With Open Eyes, Kendra helps investigate the disappearance of her mentor’s fiancé, a case that someone doesn’t want her to solve.
Since Kendra Michaels’ introduction to the literary world, there have been seven novels in the Kendra Michaels series from the mother-son duo. The latest, Hindsight, the case hits close to home for Kendra when two staff members are murdered at the school for the blind where Kendra spent her formative years. And as she investigates the seemingly unrelated deaths, Kendra discovers that she herself may be the key to the puzzle.
So let’s take a look at Kendra’s other adventures after With Open Eyes. Whether you are looking for a thrilling new series, or wish to revisit the Kendra Michael series, this list is sure to help!
In Kendra's first novel, she is contacted by the FBI for help with a case. Kendra isn't interested, but when she learns that her ex, Agent Jeff Stedler, is missing and may be the victim of a serial killer, she agrees to contribute her special talents of perception to the investigation.
Kendra Michaels is the first to realize that a traffic accident in San Diego is actually a murder. But as she works with police to uncover the killer, the body count rises. And that isn't the most shocking part: the killer is murdering people to impress Kendra, basing the crime scenes on her famous investigations. How long before he lets her know that she's the one he wanted all along?
Everyone was relieved when serial killer Eric Colby was caught, thanks in part to help from Kendra Michaels. But even though Colby's conviction and execution have been carried out, she can't shake the sense that he's still alive. And you know how good her senses are. When Kendra is called to the scene of a new murder, instead of finding evidence of Colby, she finds signs of a new killer: herself. (Fun fact: every book in the series has really high ratings on Goodreads, but this one has the highest!)
Dr. Charles Waldridge helped Kendra by giving her the ability to see, and now it's Kendra's turn to help him. After a strange visit in which Dr. Waldridge was clearly troubled, he disappears. Kendra and former FBI agent Adam Lynch will follow his trail to the mountains of California, where they will confront the deadliest enemy in the Kendra Michaels series yet.
A serial killer who likes to leave seemingly random objects at the scene of the crimes has the FBI perplexed, so once again they ask for Kendra Michaels and her special skills. But what she uncovers is more shocking than they could have imagined: the items are objects from a series of older unsolved killings. Which means they have an even more prolific and deadly killer to catch.
Kendra Michaels would like to lead a quiet life as a music therapist, but murderers can't seem to leave her alone. The most recent case involves a young woman found murdered down the street from Kendra's home, an envelope addressed to Kendra in her possession. Inside the envelope is an SD card featuring a video of a wedding. But before Kendra can unravel the meaning, the bride in the video is kidnapped. So the race is on as Kendra joins forces with private investigator Jessie Mercado and agent-for-hire Adam Lynch to uncover the heinous plan and put a stop to it.
Kendra Michaels didn’t set out to be an investigator but ended up being sought out for her keen observations. Now, as a recently sighted person, she must try to help solve two murders in her former school for the blind: A stabbing victim and a gunshot victim. It isn’t even clear if the two murders are related, so this is far from an easy case…
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Liberty Hardy is a Book Riot senior contributing editor, co-host of All the Books, a Book of the Month judge, and above all else, a ravenous reader. She resides in Maine with her cats, Millay, Farrokh, and Zevon. You can see pictures of her cats and book hauls on Twitter @MissLiberty and Instagram @franzencomesalive.