Book Review: Thrilled to Death by L.J. Sellers

Thrilled to DeathThrilled to Death
L.J. Sellers
Echelon Press, September 2010
ISBN 1590807278
Trade Paperback

Two young women are missing in Eugene, Oregon, and there is no apparent connection between them, one a single mother of a baby and the other a wealthy local heiress.  Danette could have gone off on her own, suffering from postpartum depression, but Detective Wade Jackson isn’t so sure.  He begins to look into her disappearance before the usual waiting period for missing persons because he’s dating the baby’s grandmother and his gut tells him something isn’t right.

Soon after Danette’s vanishing, Courtney is reported missing, having failed to come home after going to a nightclub.  Courtney had run off for a couple of days some months earlier and the missing persons detective in charge thinks she has probably done so again.  Reflecting her family’s influence and position in the community, as is so often the case in today’s world, the media pays much more attention to Courtney’s case than to Danette’s.

Then the first body is found and it looks as if the death might be the result of a make-believe kidnapping arranged by an adventure company.  Seemingly serendipitous connections between the two women begin to come to light and yet one of them is still missing and Jackson is more and more sure that she did not run away.

Early on, a thought of one of the bad guys caught my attention:

This was only his second pickup of a live person, and he thought it would be easy.

Something about that struck me as chilling.

Not having read the first two Detective Jackson books,  I missed out on some backstory but Ms. Sellers is a very good writer and is adept at giving enough of that backstory without letting the newest book get bogged down in rehashing the past.  I enjoyed the secondary characters, especially Jackson’s colleagues, and want to get to know them better.

I thoroughly enjoyed Thrilled to Death and will go back to read the first two in the series.  My only quibble is with the physical product in that the gutter (the space between the print and the binding) is too shallow, making the book a little difficult to handle without breaking the spine.  Still, that did not prevent me from getting caught up in a very good story and I applaud the author and the publisher for high-quality editing.  Ms. Sellers is an author with talent and I’m happy to have “discovered ” her.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, August 2010.