Dying for Revenge Reviewed By Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com
Reviewer & Author Interviewer, Norm Goldman. Norm is the Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com.
He has been reviewing books for the past fifteen years when he retired from the legal profession.
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Author: Dr. Barbara Golder
Publisher: PQ Publishing
With Dying for Revenge: The Lady Dog Murders-Book One, Dr. Barbara Golder has deftly threaded two parallel narratives one dealing with a serial killer on the loose the other dealing with revenge as a result of the protagonist's own tragic loss of her husband at the hands of a friend who had intentionally mowed him down with his car.
The setting of the novel is in Telluride, a resort town in Colorado where murders are rare and, as described in the novel, an oasis of civility and safety. It is here where our protagonist, Dr. Jane Wallace, who holds both a medical degree as well as a law degree, takes up the position as Chief Medical Examiner for the Western Slope of Colorado after the untimely death of her husband, John, five years previously. The couple were happily married and had lived in Florida. As Jane states when she describes Telluride, it is here where she sought refuge because it was so distant and so safe. It is also here where she lives with her son Ben, who, as we will discover, plays an important role in aiding her in carrying out her investigations. Dr. Wallace also enjoys the company of the town's new young priest, Father Matt who introduces her to a an author of crime novels, Eoin Connor. Incidentally, all of these characters serve an important role in Jane's personal life as well as in the development of the narrative.
The novel's prologue immediately jump started my appetite for a good thriller when I read about Marla Kincaid, the girlfriend of a movie celebrity, Mitch Houston, who receives a phone call from his ex-wife telling her that Mitch has tested positive for AIDS. Marla is pregnant with Mitch's child and had no idea that he had been infected. Moreover, Marla is informed that Mitch was infected by someone who was in detox, heroin and crack. As I continued my read into the first chapter, Jane is summoned to the scene of a murder where Houston is found dead with a single shot to the head and the evidence apparently points to Marla who certainly had a motive for the killing. To top it off, the gun was found in her underwear drawer.
This all seemed like an open and shut case and I figured the narrative would focus solely on Marla and the ensuing court proceedings. But hold on folks, Golder chooses to craft a different path for the yarn when, within a few days of the Houston murder, death seems to be stalking Telluride when dead bodies begin showing up all over of the town causing quite a panic and pointing to the possibility of a serial killer on the loose whose weapon of destruction turns out to be a .22 rifle. That, by the way, after stumbling around with various theories, is the only clue Jane has to work with until she notices that all of the murder victims seem to be beneficiaries of trust funds.
While all of this is going on, Jane has to contend with an over zealous reporter, Pete Wilson who manages to get hold of some important details concerning the various crimes which information he attributes to a highly placed source in the Forensic Center. And when Tom Patterson, the town's sheriff gets hold of Wilson's article, all hell breaks loose and embarrasses Jane for her incompetency.
Golder has created a
prudent mix of suspense, loving relationships, grieving, revenge, and
honesty, while pondering questions of spirituality and forgiveness
all peopled with down-to-earth sympathetic three-dimensional
characters. Our protagonist, Jane is a memorable character and for
all of her bitterness and despair owing to the loss of her loved one
continues to do the one thing she has done all along, survive. Golder
also often manages to penetrate and explore individual strengths and
vulnerabilities as well as the intricate world of human relations
making the novel all the more engaging.