Monday, August 15, 2011

DEAD CERTAIN by Mariah Stewart

Publisher: Ballantine
Publication Date: June 2004
ISBN: 0-345-46393-5
Romantic Suspense
Mass Market Paperback
Reviewed by Gina
Obtained by Library

Things are not going well for Amanda Crosby. Just about the time it looks like the antique shop she owns with her long time friend Derek is going to be sailing along Derek sends a black market goblet home from his vacation. Totally infuriated with Derek she calls him and in a fit of pique tells him she is going to kill him. When Derek returns home Amanda demands he meet her even though it is late at night.

Despite his assurances they can iron things out the next day she insists but Derek never arrives. Amanda chalks it up to Derek just being his flighty self. Shock and grief greet her the next morning when Derek’s partner, Clark, calls to tell her Derek has been murdered. In short order Amanda is accused of the crime by Chief of Police Sean Mercer. Despite her protestations of innocence, multiple fingers point to her being the killer until her friend and shop neighbor, Marion, is also brutally murdered. It quickly becomes evident that Amanda is the killer’s next target.

After the wild ride of DEAD WRONG, Mariah Stewart’s DEAD CERTAIN was a close second. Ms. Stewart’s writing has definitely gotten tighter and more suspenseful as her career has progressed. It has been a marvelous experience to see her growth as a writer. A minor error like calling a meal an early dinner on one page and lunch on the next is immaterial. This book was sailing along as a definite keeper until Amanda is attacked by the killer, she meets him head to head and possibly wounded him. In the aftermath of police hunting him in the area surrounding Amanda’s house not one person, including the Chief of Police, asks her what he looked like! There were no questions of whether or not she saw a weapon, his features including height and weight, possible clothing description—nothing. Perhaps most readers wouldn’t notice the omission, but as a former police dispatcher those elements would have been a key to solving the crime. I had a bit of time getting a feel for Sean—again, coming from a police background most of the chiefs I know are older. Still, he had a solid feel to him and I wouldn’t mind having a real Sean in my life.

The DEAD series is a white knuckle ride. When the suspense builds, don’t forget to breath!

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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