Monday, August 14, 2006

Mystery Book Review: Death Angel by Martha Powers

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of Death Angel by Martha Powers. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Death Angel by Martha Powers

Death Angel by Martha Powers
Oceanview Publishing (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-933515-03-1 (1933515031)
ISBN-13: 978-1-933515-03-8 (9781933515038)
Publication Date: October 2006
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): The search for truth can be deadly. Kate and Richard Warner have a quiet life – a routine life – until the one afternoon that changes them forever. Within a few short hours they are thrust into the black hole of every parent’s worst nightmare. Suddenly they are at the center of attention of their community, the media, and the police . . . for all the wrong reasons. The chief of police has singled out Richard as the primary suspect in a heinous crime that took more than an innocent life. With Richard as a suspect, Kate’s life unravels into unbearable chaos, grief, and a whole new world of deception. Neighbors turn away, and only a small handful of close friends are there to help. Or are they? After a second murder and Richard’s disappearance, Kate sets out to find the killer in their midst and clear her husband’s name. She begins to piece together an eerie puzzle, finding clues in the heart of her own community.

Anguish, suspicion and death combine in the horrifying aftermath of a vicious crime that pits a mother’s love against a ruthless killer. In a stunning conclusion, Kate risks her own life to track down and kill the Death Angel.

Review: In Death Angel, Martha Powers has crafted a thriller that perfects the art of misdirection. Everyone in this small Chicago suburb has secrets, and until the killer is revealed on the final pages, his identity remains a mystery.

After Kate and Richard Wagner's daughter disappears and is later found raped and murdered, and as their lives slowly spin out of control when Richard is suspected to be involved in the crime, Kate remarks, "There's no reality to our lives anymore. The unthinkable has become commonplace." This simple statement is the constant element that unites the various storylines in this book and is the basis for much of the suspense.

Death Angel for the most part alternates between two perspectives: Kate's conviction her husband is innocent and her doubt he may be guilty, and police chief Carl Leidecker's on-going investigation of the crime. This literary approach is quite effective as it adds a measure of conflict between these two principal characters though they share a common goal: to see the girl's murderer brought to justice. Along the way the author takes a few shortcuts to advance the plot, but in the end, Death Angel is a compelling suspense novel.

The tragedy of child abduction and murder is all too real. In a preface, Martha Powers acknowledges a Chicago mother whose story was the inspiration for Death Angel.

Special thanks to Maryglenn McCombs Book Publicity for providing an ARC of Death Angel for this review.

Review Copyright © 2006 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

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