The Red Scream

Mary Willis Walker, Author
Mary Willis Walker, Author Doubleday Books $19.95 (324p) ISBN 978-0-385-46858-9
Reviewed on: 07/04/1994
Release date: 07/01/1994
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-553-47719-1
Mass Market Paperbound - 416 pages - 978-0-553-57172-1
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-613-14137-6
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Walker's second well-wrought mystery, following her Agatha-winning Zero at the Bone , will add to her following. Molly Cates, a crime writer in Austin, Tex., is planning to cover the execution of doggerel-writing serial murderer Louie Bronk, whose five-year killing spree is the subject of Molly's recently published book. But Charlie McFarland, whose wealthy wife, Tiny, was Louie's last victim and who has since remarried, wants the past left buried, suggesting fresh publicity will threaten the stability of his grown daughter, who was 11 at the time of her mother's murder. Next, an anonymous note to Molly warns, in verse, ``Now that Louie's doomed to die / I may give his craft a try.'' Arriving at the McFarland house for a meeting, Molly stumbles on the corpse of Charlie's second wife, Georgia. The police--including Molly's attractive and still interested ex-husband, Grady Traynor--are eying Charlie and his grown children with suspicion when Louie issues an explosive statement that raises questions about Tiny's death and compels Molly to take a hard look at the investigative work she has done. The finale, in which Molly is almost killed, is somewhat gratuitous, but that aside, Molly and her disturbing subject command the reader's rapt attention. (Aug.)
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