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The Rosary Girls

By Richard Montanari

     There is a serial killer running amok A religious fanatic has been preying on Catholic girls. The girls are abducted in daylight with no apparent struggle. A teenage girl is found artfully posed with her arms chained to a pillar, clutching a rosary and a religious picture by Robert Blake. The next three murders are in a similar tableaux, each suggesting the next one in the string of calculated killings.

     The victims are found with their hands tied together and their vaginas sewn closed.

Philadelphia detective Jessie Balzano is partnered with Kevin Byrne, a former superstar cop who has problems because of his unorthodox methods, and has a deaf daughter. Jessie, too, has problems. She has locked out her undercover cop husband for cheating on her and isn't sure what the future holds for herself and her daughter. In searching for the serial killer, Jessie enlists the aid of Catholic scholars and finds answers in the ancient history of the religion. Her pursuit of the serial killer places her own daughter, Sophie, in peril. She and Kevin must confront him before Sophie becomes his next victim.

     This is a well-written and fast moving book. It is full of twists and turns, with never ending suspense. The characters of Jessie and Kevin are well developed with deep probing into the mind of the killer.

     Be prepared to burn the midnight oil, without exception, when you begin this stellar debut of a page-turner. You won't be able to put this book down until you've turned the last page.

The Book

Ballantine / Random House
Feb 15, 2005
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NOTE: deaf character

The Reviewer

Barbara Buhrer
Reviewed 2005
© 2005