Christine Green, Author . Severn $25.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7278-5733-0

In this middling police procedural from British author Green (Deadly Errand; Deadly Practice; etc.), the first of a new series featuring Det. Inspector Rydell and Sergeant Denni Caldecote, an especially nasty man does especially nasty things to young women for the most extraordinary reasons in a rural English town. The first victim, who's been missing for months, is finally found strung up in a ritualistic manner in a burning barn. The second is still missing and is presumed to be alive. In addition, for practice, the villain rapes young women in the park. Clues are scarce, suspects few. Rydell and Caldecote doggedly do the best they can, aided by Sergeant Ramesh Patel, who rises above Asian stereotype and is the most engaging character in the book. Rydell, however, is a run-of-the-mill creation, tough and tight-lipped. Caldecote, too, is a familiar type, warm and intelligent. A host of minor characters and catalogue-like descriptions slow the investigation, while the italicized monologues of the killer add little to the minimal suspense. Most effective here is Green's handling of the human consequences of the crimes. Her victims are tragic; their loved ones suffer for their loss. The author portrays rape and its emotional impact on the victim with exceptional sensitivity. Overall, though, a predictable plot and a plodding pace make for a routine mystery. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 08/06/2001
Release date: 08/01/2001
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 352 pages - 978-0-7278-7102-2
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