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Sunday, March 19, 2017


5 stars out of 5

Gruesome murders. A possible serial killer on the loose. Unrest and a big shake-up in England's Bromley Police Department. And that's just for openers in this, the fourth in the author's series featuring Detective Erika Foster. What more could any mystery lover want?

Nothing, says this mystery lover (and lover of this series in particular) - except possibly a few additional chapters to give me more time with my nose in these pages and/or a very short wait till the fifth installment is published. Meantime, I thank the publisher, via NetGalley, for the opportunity to read an advance review copy of this one.

The beginning finds Erika in a sort of informal personal relationship with fellow police officer James Peterson and no longer working on the Murder Squad. But when the dead body of a woman who had been horribly tortured turns up in a dumpster, Erika wants her old job back so she can take the lead on the case. The powers that be aren't exactly hot to trot on the idea - Erika isn't known for mincing words - but after another surprise twist (and the discovery of a possible tie-in with an eerily similar murder a few months earlier), her wish is granted, at least temporarily.

All the investigative team can figure out is that the killer apparently is stalking his victims online and using an online dating service to lure them to him. Finding who and where he is, though, proves far more difficult; even learning the color and make of his car isn't much help - it's one of the most popular in all of England.

The story moves along quickly, and I love how new bits of information on the characters are worked in as the action becomes more complex and exciting (I finished the last quarter of the book nonstop just because I was totally wrapped up in what was happening). I couldn't wait to get to the end but didn't want it to end, if you know what I mean.

I know reviewers aren't supposed to use quotes from advance copies without checking them against the published version. But I've noticed what may be a trend, especially among British authors, to work in a reference or two to the current political situation here in the States. This won't appear on my review at Amazon after the book is released, but it's just too good to not mention here (I'll also say it is my fervent hope that it makes the final cut). As one police department character questions whether to allude to a serial killer in a news conference, the response is this:

"...I think there's enough other crap happening in the media right now. People are more concerned with who is President of the USA. Will another bogeyman faze them?"

From where I sit, oh heck no.

Last Breath by Robert Bryndza (Bookouture, April 2017); 281 pp.

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