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Kathryn Dance is an investigator working for the California Bureau of Investigation. Her specialty is kinesics, a fancy word for body language. She’s one of the top in her field, so when new evidence emerges in a cold case suggesting that imprisoned cult leader and murderer Daniel Pell may have one more homicide to his name, she’s called in to interrogate. But Pell escapes and she’s left leading a manhunt, trying to catch the “Son of Manson,” as he was called, before he can either kill again or persuade someone else to kill for him.
Let’s get the cliche out of the way first: I couldn’t put it down. My eyes felt like sandpaper and I had a headache, but I just had to find out what happened next. The action just kept coming. The plot was full of surprises for me, right up until practically the last page. The book was well-written and seemed to be well-researched. Kathryn was a great female protagonist, strong, quirky, funny, likeable, but not too perfect. The other characters were maybe not quite so well-drawn, but I still liked them or hated them.
There were two things keeping me from giving this five stars. First, the ending dragged out too long for me. I always use the comparision, “You know, it’s like that movie ‘Speed.'” The story was over for me but more surprises kept popping up. I get frustrated when that happens. The big thing that kept this from being a five star book was the constant explanation of kinesics. There’s a pretty extensive explanation of what Kathryn looks for when she’s interrogating in the first chapter of the book. I’m a smart girl–assume I got it. Instead, we get quite a bit of repetition like how “I swear” inevitably signals that someone is lying or at least holding something back, or that when someone taps their foot or jingles their change, they’re experiencing stress. It wasn’t constant repetition, but by halfway through, I was thinking, “Oh no, here we go again. I hope this explanation isn’t too long.”
Overall though, the strengths of the book far outweigh the weaknesses and I would recommend it for a fast, edge-of-your-seat read.
Reviewed August 7, 2008
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Friday Flashback Reviews are a weekly feature here on The Introverted Reader. These are old reviews I wrote on GoodReads. Thanks to Angieville and her Retro Friday Reviews for the inspiration and encouragement!
I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop’s, my local independent bookstore located in beautiful downtown Asheville, NC; and Better World Books. I will receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase books through links on my site.