Separated at Death

Sheldon Rusch, Author . Berkley Prime Crime $24.95 (310p) ISBN 978-0-425-21948-5

Quirky characters lift Rusch's convoluted third mystery to feature Illinois state investigator Liz Hewitt (after 2006's The Boy with Perfect Hands ). The newly engaged Hewitt is in a contest with Jen Spangler, a single mom and criminal justice student, for the approval of Jen's father, who happens to be Hewitt's cop mentor. These two smart, cuttingly self-aware women also compete to stop a lunatic from decapitating estranged married couples. The present atrocities turn out to be related to a pair of cold case murders, and the swarm of suspects includes a libidinous psychiatrist, the pathetic editor of a neighborhood newspaper, an ultraempathetic priest and a mob of marriage counselors. Hewitt doesn't so much weigh evidence as blow cool jazz riffs on it, and Jen shows flashes of the same clever, nervous intuition. Rusch's style, dense with disconcerting wordplay and detached irony, works especially well in the chapters exhibiting the killer's skewed viewpoint. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/18/2008
Release date: 04/01/2008
Genre: Fiction
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 336 pages - 978-1-4362-5589-9
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-4362-5588-2
Mass Market Paperbound - 325 pages - 978-0-425-22680-3
Open Ebook - 978-1-4406-3493-2
Open Ebook - 978-1-101-38890-7
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