Ingrid Black, Author . St. Martin's Minotaur/ Dunne $23.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-312-32632-6

Irish author Black invades Val McDermid territory and comes out a winner in this first mystery set in gritty, moody Dublin. Saxon (we never learn her first name), a former FBI agent turned true-crime writer, has remained in Dublin after her unsuccessful attempt to write a book about Ed Fagan, a vicious, Bible-quoting serial killer who suddenly vanished from Dublin five years earlier. She has a fond relationship with her lover, Detective Chief Superintendent Grace Fitzgerald, but a professional life in limbo. Then newspaper reporter Nick Elliott, who did write a book about Fagan, receives a letter with a threat to kill five prostitutes in the next week. With each murder, the killer taunts the police with enigmatic clues. Grace pulls Saxon into the investigation as an expert on Fagan, but Saxon knows from a secret she can't reveal to Grace that this is a copycat killer. The book becomes a tense balancing act between the police search for Fagan and Saxon's search for the real killer. A string of plausible suspects keeps the reader guessing and the suspense at fever pitch until the breathtaking ending. Black writes with the edginess of Denise Mina, Jenny Siler and the masterful McDermid. On the minus side, the many characters are hard to keep track of, and the use of Britishisms like "whilst" and "opposite to" by Saxon and a fellow American profiler jars. Still, this first book will whet the reader's appetite for a sequel. Agent, Kathleen Anderson. (June 17)

Reviewed on: 05/03/2004
Release date: 06/01/2004
Hardcover - 528 pages - 978-0-7531-7239-1
Paperback - 528 pages - 978-0-7531-7240-7
Paperback - 416 pages - 978-0-7553-0702-9
Show other formats
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!