A Date to Die For
by Gaylene B. Corben
AIA Publishing

"The howling wind gave way to dark, grey clouds. The night came earlier than it should have, and the lengthening shadows moving across Paul’s face grew darker."

Set in contemporary Australia, this foray into the oft-examined world of serial killings manages to set itself apart from the majority of such thrillers. While there are plenty of dark and dreadful doings to satisfy the staunchest fans of the genre, there is also a complimentary and insightful exploration of those tasked with tracking down the human vermin who take innocent lives. In a bit of a twist from how these tales are usually told, the psychological underpinnings of the good guys are explored in as much, if not more, detail than that of the villain.

Joe is a police detective with a suitcase full of emotional baggage. He's the son of a cop, but his lineage is one of despair. The horrific events, the victims, their devastated loved ones—they all take a tremendous toll on Joe's psychological well-being. His partner, Tess, is a tart-tongued Italian beauty who does what she can to keep Joe from turning totally inward while she struggles to share the reality of a relationship of her own. Together, they find themselves in the middle of a baffling series of killings whose connections are complex at best.

Corben is a skillful storyteller who intricately weaves police procedure, individual angst, and ongoing suspense into a compelling drama. The author's dialogue is crisp and has the sound of real conversation. Her premeditated reveal of pertinent information doesn't impede the tale's pace. Rather, it motivates the reader to expand his or her list of potential suspects even as the principal characters are whittling theirs down. For a debut novel, Corben is off to a first-rate start. One can only hope she keeps the stories coming.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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