Harper / HarperCollins
August 2010 / ISBN 978-0-06-154450-7
by Dennis Collins
police detective Frank Patrick is assigned to investigate the death
of twenty-four year old Jillian Perry he finds no evidence of foul
play but has an uneasy feeling about the case. He turns to his cousin,
forensic investigator Theresa MacLean, for a little advice. Theresa
is in the process of trying to put her life back together after
the death of her fiancé who was murdered eight months ago
in a bank robbery. It’s the kind of challenge that Theresa
needs to refocus her life and begin to move on.
are willing to rule Jillian’s death a suicide. It looks like
she wandered outside in freezing weather, sat down in the woods
and simply froze to death.
Jillian’s life, Theresa finds it hard to believe that Jillian,
a former escort would kill herself. To begin with, Jillian had a
five month old daughter who was the light of her life and she seemed
to be very happily married. Her husband was on the cusp of making
a huge breakthrough in the video gaming business. The circumstances
simply didn’t support a suicidal situation.
mind there were plenty of suspects beginning with Jillian’s
former boss, a supposedly reformed pimp who had become the legitimate
agent for sophisticated escorts. That still sounded an awful lot
like a pimp to Theresa. And then there was Drew Fleming, a former
suitor who seemed totally obsessed with Jillian. Drew had asked
that her body be released to him and had filed for custody of Jillian’s
But the one
that Theresa had the strongest feeling about was Jillian’s
Husband, Evan Kovacic. He appeared to have an IQ in the genius range
but was quite arrogant and didn’t seem upset enough at the
death of his new wife. And when it was discovered that Jillian’s
baby daughter had a loosely structured, one and a half million dollar
trust fund in her name Theresa became even more suspicious. A new
sense of urgency enveloped the investigation because the trust fund
would go to Evan if anything should happen to the baby.
autopsy had produced no medical evidence that would pin down a cause
of death, it wouldn’t even support death by freezing. Once
again Theresa turned her attention to the one man that she felt
was capable of the complicated planning and meticulous attention
to detail required to make a murder look like death by natural causes.
The first three
quarters of this book focuses on the methodical collecting of minute
pieces of evidence as Theresa tries desperately to build a credible
case. It’s amazing just how tiny the parts to the puzzle are.
But Theresa is determined to assemble enough evidence to keep the
police investigation moving.
You might expect
the story to bog down with all of these microscopic details coming
to the surface but it actually moves at a very comfortable pace
allowing the reader to follow Theresa’s logic and gain enthusiasm
for her quest.
begins to tighten the noose and the other players recognize it,
the story breaks into a full-blown action adventure leading to an
explosive finish. This book has a little of everything.