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    Review of AT THE STROKE OF MADNESS by Alex Kava

    MIRA, August 2003

    The small town of Meriden, Connecticut, doesn't see much crime, and that's the way Sheriff Henry Watermeier likes it. The former New York cop is looking to retire soon, and he would like to do so with an unblemished record--no unsolved cases. So when a body turns up in a rusted barrel at an abandoned quarry, he's not happy about it. He's less happy when an examination of the scene turns up several more bodies, each more hideously mutilated than the next. Someone is collecting body parts.

    FBI profiler Maggie O'Dell, now through the worst of her divorce, is supposed to be on vacation. But her psychologist friend has asked her to look into a missing patient, Joan Begley, who was in Meriden when she disappeared. It doesn't look good for Joan.

    Henry and Maggie are just two of the players in this complex story of a twisted serial killer. There's Luc Racine, a victim of early-onset Alzheimer's who is trying to hold on to his sanity and avoid becoming the killer's next victim. There's Lillian, mystery-novel fan and amateur profiler, whose brother might be the killer. And all sorts of delicious suspects and an amusing love interest for Maggie who cooks up his vegetable beef soup on the same stove as the one he uses to boil down the bones of corpses (he's a forensic anthropologist).

    This story is fast-paced, absorbing, and lots of fun, with just enough gritty detail to provide realism. This author reminds me of Kathy Reichs or even Patricia Cornwell. Great characters, great mystery and a villain you love to hate.

    See more reviews of novels by Alex Kava.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 11/10/03

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