Author: D. M. Annechino
ISBN: 978-098255503-3

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D. M. Annechino’s They Never Die Quietly is a suspenseful thriller with all the right ingredients: Simon, a serial killer who is convinced he is doing God’s work; Rizzo, a police detective and single mother who is unsure about a lot of things, even her job; Diaz, who is a recovering alcoholic and secretly in love with his partner Rizzo; and Davison, their Captain, who is caught between the two detectives trying to do their jobs and the politicians that make his life miserable.  The author blends all these ingredients into a story that keeps you turning the page but at the end doesn’t quite work for me.

Simon’s mission is derived from the belief that God has given him absolute authority to purify his unholy victims, all women, through a ritual that ends in their grisly crucifixion in his Room of Redemption.  This belief in turn springs from the relationship with his deceased mother whose voice inside his disturbed brain is still his guiding light.  In short, Simon is a stereotypical psychotic, which is part of the problem.  The author hints at the blackness in his soul but never dissects it in a way that’s really satisfying to me.

Instead, the detectives, especially Rizzo, are left to do the work of amateur psychiatrists, which is about the only thing they can do, except that they also are in need of professional help.  For example, Rizzo has relationship problems.  Her ex is a stereotypical sleaze that gets killed by some bad guys, but Rizzo blames herself for depriving her daughter of a father and not lending him money.  She doesn’t have a clue that Diaz has any feelings for her until the very end.  In fact, just to show her cluelessness, she meets and falls for Simon, who is anxious to get rid of the detective by purifying her.  Rizzo is in the wrong profession.  Amelia Sachs she is not, nor is she a female Alex Cross.

It is unfortunate for me as a reviewer that I found Diaz to be the more interesting character.  He is not stereotypical.  He is flawed.  His past is complicated.  His love for Rizzo is driven by lust and true affection and his falling off the wagon Rizzo helped to construct is interesting.  I would have liked to see him developed a little more, but the plot choice was made to have Rizzo be Simon’s target.  What unfolds is all too predictable.

This novel provided me with a comfortable evening sitting in my recliner and sipping my Jameson’s.  But I’m not sure this kind of suspense novel should be “comfortable.”  Deaver at his best is not comfortable.  Harris’ Hannibal is not comfortable.  Annechino’s story lacks that twist that leaves you breathless and wondering about the evil side of genius.
On the other hand, this story ranks right up there with some of Deaver’s and Patterson’s work (which recently has become somewhat formulistic). I recommend you take a look.  Like I said, it has all the right stuff.

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