Murder Off the Record

Marnie Schulenburg, Author
Marnie Schulenburg, Author Write Way Publishing $23.95 (304p) ISBN 978-1-885173-50-8
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An excess of puzzles burdens this first mystery, which includes some likable characters, a hard-to-credit serial killer and a partially redeeming final twist. Sabina Shaw is a management consultant hired to design a business plan for the Riverview, Wis., Times, newly acquired by media mogul Matthew Drum. Drum, who is dating Sabina's mother, comes from an egregiously dysfunctional family: he despises his father and his son, while they, supportive of each other, hate him. The murder of a young woman, whose body is found with a cryptic note, challenges the Times policy of giving no media attention to serial killers, who, the editor believes, kill for the attention. Escalating threats from the killer, more murders, complicated business and family dynamics and not-so-complicated Internet practices lead Sabina towards partial conclusions. She's able to close the circle when she solves a fourth murder. Exhibiting too little focus but lots of spirit, Schulenburg's debut shows considerable promise. (June)
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