About this book: O’Clair is a former Detroit homicide investigator who now owns a motel in Pompano Beach, Florida in his retirement. He runs the place with his much younger girlfriend, Virginia, who’s a knockout and can fix anything. One morning, he’s cleaning up after the previous night’s partiers when he sees a lovely young woman stretched out asleep on a lounge chair. He shakes her gently. Then he touches her neck and feels for a pulse. There isn’t one. Her skin is cold, body starting to stiffen, definitely in the early stages of rigor.
When a second girl is murdered, O’Clair knows someone is trying to send him a message. The way the girls are killed reminds O’Clair of a case he investigated years earlier. Now convinced the Pompano murders are related, O’Clair returns to Detroit Police Homicide to review the murder file and try to figure out what he might have missed.
And when Virginia is kidnapped by the killer, the stakes grow exponentially higher.
About the author: Peter Leonard is a second-generation thriller writer, son of the renowned Elmore Leonard. This is his sixth novel. He lives in Birmingham, Michigan. Learn more about him and his work at PeterLeonardBooks.com.
Judge this book by its cover? Creepy stalker/killer reflected in the shades…yes, that works.
If this book were a movie, I would rate it: R because of its mature content, though the profanity did not strike me as overindulgent.
Reminds me of… Tess Gerritsen, Mary Higgins Clark
You’ll want to buy this book if … you enjoy a no frills thriller with noir overtones. I imagine there might also be some sentimental appeal if you’re familiar with the work of the late Elmore Leonard, Peter Leonard’s father–from whom the son apparently inherited his gift for storytelling.
Why did I read this book? For The Story Plant, for review
Would I read another by this author? If the mood struck, yes.
My take: I was not prepared to enjoy this novel as much as I did. The cover did not attract me (while the image itself is compelling, the font and colors do little to entice), and I before I started reading, I wondered if I had outgrown my penchant for thrillers. Apparently not. I couldn’t put this one down.
I’m still trying to figure out why. In keeping with its noir-esque tone, the writer’s prose is far more blue-collar than literary. He toes the line in terms of content that I’m willing to read. The characters–even the good ones–are not ones I’d typically choose to hang out with. I’m not drawn to the setting (wintry Florida and Detroit). The best I can figure is that this author has that elusive, inimitable ability to plot a compelling story, to tell it simply, without flair or fuss–and therefore draw the reader right in.
This novel is not for everyone–if you don’t enjoy mature-themed, high-stakes, women-in-jeopardy thrillers, I doubt you’d enjoy this one. But if you like a story that moves along at a speedy clip, contains flawed but likable characters, and a twisty plot that keeps you guessing, I suggest you give it a try.
Thanks to Meryl L. Moss Media Relations and The Story Plant for providing me a free copy to review. All opinions are mine.
Now your turn: When did you last read a book that surprised you for how much you enjoyed it? What was it?