THE LANDLORD by Ken Merrell
KayDee Books - 2001
ISBN: 0967851017 - Paperback
Thriller - *Note: No profanity, sexual content, or gratuitous violence

Reviewed by Nancy Mehl,
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A serial killer is stalking young girls in Utah. Officer Rick Stacey and his dog, Sig, are on the job, determined to stop him from killing again. Rick unexpectedly uncovers certain facts that lead him to reach a startling and dangerous conclusion - one that puts his life in danger.

Don Rodriquez, just out of jail, comes back to Mapleton, Utah to start over - and reclaim the love of his young daughter, Christina. After Don lands a job, he and Christina rent a house they share with their landlord, a strange man who seems to be spying on them. Who is he - and what is his connection to the recent abductions? Don's struggle to change his life is threatened by his volatile temper, but the support of a young Mormon woman he meets at work seems to offer him the stability he has been looking for - and perhaps, a chance for love.

THE LANDLORD is probably one of the best first novels I've ever read. Ken Merrell is on his way to becoming a top-notch author. His back and forth changes in scenes and characters is hard to pull off - but he does it admirably. However, I would like to see the POV (point-of-view) changes stop in his scenes. This was distracting at first, but the story was so compelling and well-plotted, that I forced myself to ignore this weakness and concentrate on the novel's power and intensity. Chapter two, written in first person, was also distracting. I feel that this would have flowed much better in third person - the perspective of the rest of the novel.

Even with its flaws, I enjoyed every second of this book. I recommend it highly - and intend to keep a place open on my bookshelves for Mr. Merrell's future efforts!

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