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    Review of KILLER SUMMER by Ridley Pearson (see his website)

    Putnam, June 2009

    Sheriff Walt Fleming is trying to bond with his nephew over a fishing hole when he sees a towtruck hauling a Ford. Now, a towtruck isn't exactly earthshaking, but they're in the woods and there is no repair shop in the direction the truck is heading. Walt's detective instincts are engaged--especially when he sees what appears to be the slumped body of the Ford's driver still in the towed car.

    Family bonding takes second place to catching criminals and Walt heads into action--in time to discover the Ford's driver dead, a couple of bottles of million dollar wine still chained to him. With a famous wine auction about to happen, Walt needs to find the thieves before they strike again. What he doesn't realize is that he's up against some of the most detail-oriented thieves he's ever faced.

    Author Ridley Pearson combines action with intriguing and believable characters to spin a story that definitely held my interest. Walt, his nephew Kevin and visiting teen Summer Sumner, in particular come alive in this story. For me, though, Pearson, ultimately pushed past the limits of suspension of disbelief. It wasn't at all clear to me why the thieves would have needed all that planning, all of the intentional confusion they sowed, all of the misdirection. Until they began their crime wave, after all, Walt was busy fishing--not chasing thieves. Surely any professional thief would know better than to call attention to themselves, especially as their misdirection didn't play any essential role in unfolding the story.

    Ridley Pearson is a talented enough writer that I stayed involved in the story despite my inability to suspend disbelief. KILLER SUMMER makes for enjoyable beach-type reading.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 6/16/09

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