Richard Montanari, Author . Ballantine $26 (381p) ISBN 978-0-345-49242-5

Philadelphia homicide detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano take on a high-profile cold case in Montanari's superior thriller, which combines a genuinely creepy villain with fully fleshed-out victims. The dead-end inquiry into the drowning death of 17-year-old Caitlin O'Riordan four months earlier gets a boost when someone, privy to details never made public, tips the police to an abandoned building in a bad neighborhood that later turns out to house a second corpse. The stakes are raised even higher when another body turns up, an ex-girlfriend of Byrne's who'd worked for the local district attorney. Segments from the killer's perspective increase the tension, and Montanari (Merciless ) does a nice job of concealing one of the murderer's alter egos. The fiend's methods, modeled after elaborate magical tricks, are a welcome change from the gore typical of the serial killer subgenre. Likewise, Byrne and Balzano possess a psychological depth all too rare in such fiction. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 07/28/2008
Release date: 08/01/2008
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 350 pages - 978-0-345-50946-8
Downloadable Audio - 1 pages - 978-1-4159-6180-3
Hardcover - 625 pages - 978-1-4104-1314-7
Mass Market Paperbound - 397 pages - 978-0-345-49243-2
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