Bantam Books, August 2011
ISBN No. 978-0553807189
Glen and Sheila Garber have been facing what so many other couples across the country are facing. The economy isn’t any better in Connecticut where they have their home than any other location in the United States. Glen is a contractor and owns his own business. His business has been shaken by the housing crisis. One of the houses he was working on burned and he is not sure that the insurance is going to cover the loss. Sheila is attending night classes in the hope of landing a better job. Sheila also feels that she will be a big help in Glen’s business when she finishes her night course. Sheila assured Glen that the future was looking brighter for the couple and their eight year-old daughter.
There would be no future for the couple. Sheila left for class one night and didn’t return. She was killed in an automobile accident and she wasn’t the only victim. Sheila is blamed for the accident although Glen just can’t believe it. The police say Sheila was drunk and passed out with her car blocking the road. Glen has never known Sheila to drink to excess nor has she ever driven while intoxicated.
Glen sets out to seek answers to what really happened the night that Sheila died. He finds that other couples in his community have decided to take dangerous steps to increase their income and fight the current economy. Good friends have become involved in illegal activities that include pushing knock off purses, selling prescription meds that aren’t of the quality they should be and it even extends to faulty wiring and building materials. The more Glen finds out the more he fears for the safety of his daughter as well as his own safety. He questions how deeply involved Sheila had become in these activities and if this involvement brought about her death.
This is a gripping story that keeps the reader on edge. Before the entire story is revealed, several lives and families are destroyed. I hope that this story is all centered in the author’s imagination. It would be tragic to think that families have taken up criminal activities in order to retain a life style that they have become accustomed to in better times.
Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid, October 2011.
The Bride Collector
Center Street, 2010
ISBN No. 1599951966
Women of the Denver area are being targeted by a killer the FBI are calling The Bride Collector. The killer leaves his victims naked except for panties and a veil. The body is glued to the wall and the blood is drained from the victims.
FBI Special Agent Brad Raines is at a dead-end in his investigation. Nikki Holden, a forensic psychologist working with Brad, is of the opinion that the killer thinks of himself as the groom and that his preparations of the body are done out of love. When the killer leaves a note in the heel of his victim Brad and Nikki are at a loss to figure out the message that the killer is trying to convey.
Determining that the killer is both mentally ill and a genius the FBI turns to the Center for Wellness and Intelligence. The center is a private home for gifted, mentally ill residents. When Brad and Nikki visit the center, they meet residents Roudy, Andrea, Enrique and Paradise. People have their own set of personal problems but each is highly intelligent. Although the mannerisms of the group could be considered at times comical their mental problems are very real. The group works hard to decipher the meaning behind the message left by The Bride Collector and manage to reach a solution that is a big help to the FBI.
Brad suffers from a mental problem of his own in that he cannot forget his first love who killed herself because she didn’t think she was beautiful enough. The killer leaves a note that indicates he has taken a personal interest in Brad that makes Brad fear for anyone close to him.
Paradise seems to have the ability to see the final moments before a person’s death by touching the body. Brad works to gain Paradise’s trust and soon he is fascinated by Paradise who refers to herself as a skank because she feels she is ugly.
This is a fast-paced book and not your usual serial killer story. The Bride Collector ended too soon for me.
Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid, February 2011.