It seems that if you're prepared for the worst things you can imagine to happen to the characters in the Life Lessons-books you'll still be surprised because the author imagined much worse things. Honestly, the amount of tragedy these characters have to go through...woah. I do think it is very well handled and, yeah I do like angst and drama so I'm not complaining, just a bit worried. There were some allusions that more is about to come and I hope this will be handled just as well.
Other issues: Soap-box. You're standing on it, dear author.
There were a few occasions, where I felt that there wasn't really Tony or what's-her-first-name Liu talking but the author getting her viewpoint across. Now I do very much agree with every single thing she said e.g. about not blaming victims of violence for what happens to them and everything but I still can't avoid disliking author-fillibusters of any kind no matter how much I agree with them, especially if they don't really need them to get their point across. Harper has a really detailed writing-style (that's probably not for everyone) and occasionaly it's so detailed it hurts. Like in the beginning when Mac recalls a case about a woman being beaten to death by her ex, even though she had called the cops several times after being threatened by him. There is something about the description if his feelings about this, the police-work connected to this case...that makes you feel like you've been punched in the guts. It's hard to explain. Similarly Tony's rather un-emotional "When I was a teen I got beatin up twice, cause I was openly gay." makes you go No! It shouldn't be. and then Yeah, but it is. No need for long monologues about homophobia here.
Where was I? The case was really interesting again, also the fact that it was somewhat different from typical crime-novels (the killer's name was dropped quite early and he seemed really suspicous and then it was all about catching him).
As already mentioned, it's all described in very much detail and that includes the police-work, also the boring police-work like legal stuff, nutters on the phone claiming to have seen the killer and all that. Again that's something you like or you don't. I had very few issues with it in the first volume ("Do I really need to know exactly how much paperwork is involved in that? If I would want to know I'd read some non-fiction about police-procedure") and none at all this time. I think it's quite well balanced, showing that police-work is not all running around after suspects and getting incredibly lucky in your deductions without boring the reader with too much info-dump.
Tony and Mac remain adoreable, same goes for Ben and Anne (which means something as most fictional children, especially of their age, tend to annoy me a lot).