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Posted September 26, 2012
Posted June 21, 2001
Griffin weaves a tight plot and creates brilliant characters
I love discovering new authors - particularly good ones. Dennis Griffin is one of the good ones. <p> Griffin's third novel, Killer in Pair-a-Dice is the first I've read of his. You can be sure I'm going to go back and read The Morgue (1999) and Red Gold (2000) soon. <p> The setting is modern-day Las Vegas. The reader is dropped into the action immediately, as a rapist/serial killer takes a victim. Griffin's characters are good - very good. The killer is cool, efficient, and detached; the victim is terrified, angry, defiant... and then dead. <p> Enter Las Vegas Metro Police Detective Steve Garneau, a likeable and professional investigator. Garneau soon becomes entrenched in the case and as bodies keep turning up, political and media pressure to catch the perpetrator intensify. <p> Griffin takes the reader into the killer's mind, revealing the complete rage and hatred the man harbors for a certain woman that his victims remind him of. The man's technique of using a garrote is distinctive - and intensely personal. He wraps his victims in a clean sheet, leaving few clues, and dumps them on roadsides where they will be found quickly. The press soon begins calling him the Phantom. <p> Garneau and his partner, Terry Bolton, make a good team. Griffin's writing style brings an immediate feeling of comfortable camaraderie between the two officers and he uses Bolton to balance what could easily become an all-male cast. <p> A sub-plot within the novel develops around the city's political powers, adding an extra layer to an already good story. Instead of distracting the reader, this third element adds to the mystery: How does this all tie together? <p> The reader will not be disappointed. <p> Griffin pays close attention to police procedure - a feature I appreciate. I suspect Griffin's own background in policing is what gives the novel a gritty, realistic feel. Griffin worked, among other investigative positions, as a P.I. for Pinkerton, and he attended the Central New York Regional Academy for Police Training. <p> The only problem I found with the novel was the copyediting was a little roughly done. This became distracting in spots, but I have to admit, as picky as I am about that, the story still thoroughly engaged me and I had a very hard time putting the book down.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.