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Friday, January 3, 2014

Angel Killer By P.J. Nunn

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Sandra Murphy

Check out details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of this review.

Warning: This book is not a cozy mystery, it is suspense; the theme a serial killer who targets children. There are seven children killed, ranging in age from newborn to seven years old, several teenagers die and there are a few near misses. The murders are not graphic, but are disturbing.

Shari Markham is a psychologist assigned to the Dallas Police Department. When a missing child is found dead, the FBI takes over in the form of the handsome and charismatic, Luke. Shari is licensed to carry a concealed weapon, but until this case hadn’t felt the need though she’s qualified as a marksman. The bodies accumulate, the clues are scattered and so is the attention of police and FBI, as the killer has them running in circles. Any clue needs to be checked out but at what cost to manpower?

The murders are found to be interstate, leaving the officials wondering–how does the killer do it, time-wise? The answer is–he has help. Shari consults an old friend and colleague, and that leads to the killer sending her messages personally and targeting her family as well.

Twenty-four hour protection doesn’t seem to be enough to keep Shari and her family safe while she continues to work the case. To make matters worse, every time they question a teenager about the disappearance of a child, the teenager turns up dead within days, even though they said nothing in the interview.

Image source: Oak Tree

In between, there’s romance in the air as Luke and Shari get close. What will happen when Luke goes back to his home base? It feels like more than an affair but is it? And does a relationship put the investigation in jeopardy as well?

The twists and turns are many, but the story navigates through them and answers most questions. The only problem I have with Shari is that she is too perfect–she’s a marksman and shoots a man in the knee to prevent his escape (a hard target to hit). She finds clues the police and FBI missed, she’s pretty, has a great family, two wonderful dogs, men are attracted to her–her main flaw is that she is stubborn and puts herself in situations she shouldn’t. She insisted on jogging, but not at the track where the FBI can watch her better, but through the neighborhoods. Her three year old granddaughter, Angel, is a target of the killer and Shari takes her to the movies–two FBI agents in tow of course but still…

The book is a good read if you can handle the subject matter. I read it twice and liked it better the second time through. The insight of the workings between the FBI and local police feels real and the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes brings home the idea that no crime is easy to solve, much less the complicated and senseless murder of children.

To enter to win a copy of Angel Killer, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Angel”, or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen January 11, 2014. U.S. residents only.

Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the arch, in the land of blues, booze and shoes—St Louis, Missouri. While writing magazine articles to support her mystery book habit, she secretly polishes two mystery books of her own, hoping, someday, they will see the light of Barnes and Noble. You can also find several of Sandra's short stories on UnTreed Reads including Bananas Foster.