Book Reviews: Shadowkiller by Wendy Corsi Staub and Proof of Guilt by Charles Todd

ShadowkillerShadowkiller
Wendy Corsi Staub
Harper, February 2013
ISBN No. 978-0-06-207032-6
Mass Market Paperback

Shadowkiller ends the trilogy involving the family of Allison Taylor, now Allison MacKenna.  Allison met her husband Mack when she lived in Manhattan and her apartment was across the hall from Mack and his wife.  Mack’s wife was killed in the 9-11 tragedy and Allison’s friend was murdered in their apartment building.

Allison and Mack eventually married and moved to the suburbs but they found that life was not to be smooth for the couple and their family.   Someone is stalking the family and at times even Allison suspects the person causing the problems might be Mack.  Eventually the truth is found out but not before even the children have a very close call.

Life has gone back to normal for the family and Allison has even agreed to make a trip to the Midwest to visit her brother and his wife.  Allison’s father left when she was young and her mother killed herself with liquor and drugs.  It is a very large step for Allison to agree to travel back to the Midwest.

But the MacKenna family aren’t alone on the trip.  Mack’s wife, who was thought to have died in the 9-11 tragedy, is alive and determined to have a show-down with Allison.  The connection between the two women is finally revealed in this exciting conclusion.  With the intervention of Detective Rocko Manzillo, who has knowledge of the MacKenna’s background, Allison might just get out alive.

Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid, February 2013.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Proof of GuiltProof of Guilt
(An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery)
Charles Todd
William Morrow, January 2013
ISBN No. 978-0-06-201568-6
Hardcover

When Ian Rutledge is assigned to head up an investigation involving an unidentified body, Rutledge has a difficult job.  First, he must identify the body and that does not prove to be an easy task.  Second, he must decide if the victim is a murder victim or if he died accidentally.   Then once he has reached the conclusion that the victim was murdered Rutledge must discover where he was murdered.  Rutledge feels that the victim met his death at a different location and the body was later moved.

Rutledge turns up a clue that leads him to suspect that the victim might have a connection to the firm of House of French, French and Traynor.  The firm produces a world famous Madeira wine.  Lewis French, the head of the London office, is missing.  Rutledge is unable to locate French in London and his sister has no idea where her brother might be.

Matthew Traynor, head of the Portugal side of the wine operation, is expected to arrive in England but the French family has not received any word from Traynor and his office only knows he left Portugal to travel to London.

Three women connected to French are interviewed by Rutledge.  French’s sister, his former fiancée and his current fiancée and none can offer a clue as to French’s whereabouts or what may have happened to him.

When Rutledge discovers a link to an incident in the French’s family’s past he feels that the man involved warrants further investigation.  Rutledge’s superintendent is not interested and insists that Rutledge arrest one of the women from French’s past and her father who is employed in the company business.  In spite of his supervisor’s instructions Rutledge proceeds to look into the incident from the past and becomes more and more convinced that he is on the right path to find out the truth about the victim, who he now is sure is Lewis French.

This latest addition to the Rutledge series is a complicated and confusing read and not as enjoyable as the previous novels in this series. I would still recommend the series to a reader who enjoys British mysteries.

Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid, February 2013.

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