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Secret of the Seventh Son

by Glenn Cooper


Will Piper has a reputation as one of the FBIís top profilers, but years of long hours and hard drinking have taken their toll, and now heís simply biding his time counting the days until he arrives at retirement and that dreamed about pension. He is only slightly annoyed when he is passed over to take on the case of the hottest new serial killer in New York. Six bodies in two weeks sharing one common clue. Each victim received a postcard from Las Vegas bearing the picture of a coffin. Other than the postcards, there seemed to be no similarities. None of them knew one another, the causes of death were different, and their lifestyles werenít the type that attracted murderers.

When illness sidelines the agent in charge of the case, Will is ordered to pick up the investigation. Heís not pleased, but heís a good soldier, and teams up with Agent Nancy Lipinski to find the serial killer. Nancy is apprehensive about working with an agent with the type of maverick reputation that Will has, but sheís a professional too and puts her all into the partnership. They both find much more than they were looking for.

Will canít recall ever handling a case that offered so little physical evidence. The killings look distinctly unrelated but the postcards tell a different story. Perhaps the answers can be found in Las Vegas.

While checking out leads in Las Vegas, Will drops in to say hello to Mark Shackleton, an old college roommate. Schackleton is also a government employee working at the mysterious "Area 51" just outside of Las Vegas. In spite of the glamorous image of a top secret job, Shackleton is restless and would much rather pursue a career as a screenwriter. He seems to know a few things about the New York "Doomsday Killer" case and he tells Will that theyíll never catch the killer. Will disagrees.

Secret of the Seventh Son is a very complicated story with an even more complicated plot. The tale is told using flashbacks to post World War Two England and all the way back to the eighth century. Itís probably correct to say that the story actually begins in the year 777, with revelations in 1947 and resolution in 2009. With this kind of time span, the book could be very hard to follow but author Glenn Cooper does an excellent job of interjecting the right information at the proper times to keep the story flowing. The reader will have to pay attention to every detail in this book in order to understand how it all fits together, but it will be a rewarding experience. I donít recall ever reading a mystery quite like this one.

The Book

July 28, 2009
Mass Market Paperback
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The Reviewer

Dennis Collins
Reviewed 2010
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.
© 2010