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The Well Meaning Killer

by Miranda Phillips Walker


This story opens with FBI agent Megan McKenna being lowered into a well to retrieve a plastic garbage bag containing the remains of a young girl. McKenna realizes that this case is similar to others and she’s dealing with a serial killer. As a behavioral scientist, she has been brought in to assist the Baltimore Police Department for that very purpose. Her Baltimore PD partner is a seasoned detective named Phil Jenkins and after a few rounds of sparring, McKenna and Jenkins recognize one another’s talent and begin working as an effective team.

Detective Jenkins uncovers a link between at least two of the victims. They were both one time residents of the "Our Lady of Peace" foster care home. Cops don’t generally buy coincidences so the investigation takes a very close look at the facility.

Mrs. Adams, a secretary at "Our Lady," provides them with the files on the two murdered girls, but slips a third file into the stack as well. Agent McKenna wonders if this other file might be the records of the yet to be identified third victim. When her premonition proves to be true, McKenna knows they’re on the right track.

More coincidences keep surfacing. It seems that all of the parents of the murdered girls had moved out of state and that all of them have met with accidental deaths. It begins to look like a money scheme and leads the detectives to take a much closer look at the foster home staff, particularly the silent partners.

Child Protective Services gets into the act as well. It’s their job to look out for the welfare of children in all situations. When investigator Melissa Taylor vanishes after visiting Our Lady of Peace, things really heat up. Agent McKenna is calling in all of her resources, including investigative and well connected newspaper reporters and FBI profiler Reese DiTrapano, Mckenna’s ex-lover.

Nobody at the home is above suspicion. There’s Mr. Cooper, the attorney who runs things from a safe and anonymous distance, and his on-site manager, Mrs. Kripes, the short tempered, drill sergeant-like supervisor. The staff psychologist, Dr. Mendez, is a devious sort and acts as if he’s hiding something, while maintenance man Matthew Crusher is just plain creepy.

Author Miranda Walker’s debut novel is quite compelling. It is decidedly character driven. Every person in the cast is vivid and interesting. If Walker is planning to turn this into a series, she’s off to a wonderful start because people will want to hear more from Megan McKenna, Agent DiTrapano, and McKenna’s Labrador Retriever sidekick Max.

The Book

Krill Press
June 9, 2009
Mystery / Thriller
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The Reviewer

Dennis Collins
Reviewed 2009
NOTE: Reviewer Dennis Collins is the author of The Unreal McCoy and the second installment in this series, Turn Left at September. He's also's "Between the Pages" columnist, covering the mystery genre and related topics.
© 2009