Thursday, July 09, 2009

Mystery Book Review: The Mosquito Tapes by Chris Holmes

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of The Mosquito Tapes by Chris Holmes. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

The Mosquito Tapes by Chris Holmes

by
Non-series

Highland Press (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-9823615-1-3 (0982361513)
ISBN-13: 978-0-9823615-1-1 (9780982361511)
Publication Date: June 2009
List Price: $12.95

Review: Chris Holmes' latest thriller, The Mosquito Tapes, features Dr. Jack Youngblood, Chief Medical Examiner for the city of San Diego, investigating the deaths of two men, found in the same general vicinity but both, inexplicably and most unlikely, without any identification.

Jack "studies the dead for a living." His friends call him a ghoul, which he readily admits he is, but he also loves his job. He received his first microscope when he was just 8 years old, and studied everything he could: yeast cells, hair and fur, amoeba from the local pond, and more. And he's working in a profession that allows him to continue to study the minutiae of life. Or death, as the case may be. His current case involves two men. The first is a young man shot in the forehead, no ID, no distinguishing marks, no money, no jewelry. He was found on the side of a road not far from a local Indian casino. It also wasn't far from a tract of Federal property on which the company Biologistics is located. The second is also a young man, this one dead from a hit-and-run. Again, no ID, no distinguishing physical characteristics, but he did have $3000 in his pants pocket and a dead mosquito in a jacket pocket. He, too, was found in the same general area as the first man. Are their deaths related? Might the two men have known each other?

Jack is assisted in his investigation by a new forensic specialist, Jill Hanraty. She's very good at her job, but she's also a stunner to look at. Jack, divorced from his first wife, a widower following his second marriage, a Labrador named Lilly his only companion, realizes he has feelings for his new partner, which may complicate further what is already a very complicated case.

The Mosquito Tapes is a most unusual mystery, fascinating and extraordinary. The author seems to clearly know his science, incorporating the latest forensic methodology into Jack's investigation in a manner that furthers the plot without weighing it down. The relationship between Jack and Jill is both touching as it develops and heartbreaking as it unwinds. Allow for plenty of time when starting this captivating novel; it will be hard to put down.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of The Mosquito Tapes and to Chris Holmes for providing an ARC of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

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Synopsis (from the publisher): Jack Youngblood is a ghoul. That's what his friends call him. More comfortable in the morgue than the coffee shop, Jack is San Diego's Chief Medical Examiner. Dead bodies are his business. A twice-divorced recovering alcoholic, Jack hasn't had a date since he's been sober. His only commitment is to his work; his only love is Lilly the Lab who shares his home.

When red-haired, green-eyed Jill Hanraty, a Forensic Investigator, joins his department, Jack falls for her like a mountain climber losing his grip. Together they investigate a pair of baffling homicides. Jill becomes more than Jack's colleague -- more than a friend. Until she betrays him.

Part love story, part forensic police procedural, this fast-paced novel is full of chases, plot twists, a dramatic climax, and an on-again, off-again romance as mysterious as the murder investigations themselves.

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