Cuts Like A Knife [NOOK Book]

Overview

Chicago has a new resident—a heartless killer on a long crime spree. Kristen Conner (think Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality) is a good cop and a good girl: she loves her mom, goes to church and coaches her niece’s soccer team. And her track record and instincts as a detective are impeccable . . . but this case and this killer expose a blind spot that ultimately endangers those closest to her. Can she catch this hauntingly familiar culprit before he strikes again? Cuts Like a Knife is loaded with action, humor ...
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Cuts Like A Knife

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Overview

Chicago has a new resident—a heartless killer on a long crime spree. Kristen Conner (think Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality) is a good cop and a good girl: she loves her mom, goes to church and coaches her niece’s soccer team. And her track record and instincts as a detective are impeccable . . . but this case and this killer expose a blind spot that ultimately endangers those closest to her. Can she catch this hauntingly familiar culprit before he strikes again? Cuts Like a Knife is loaded with action, humor and wry introspection.
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  • Cuts Like a Knife
    Cuts Like a Knife  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Christian publishing veteran Gilroy debuts as an author (he’s usually the publisher) with a thriller that blends all the elements of the genre: evil criminal, dedicated cop, and exciting ending. Kristen Conner is a detective with the Chicago Police Department, coaches her niece’s soccer team, and struggles with anger. And she’s sure she can catch a serial killer who’s taken up residence in Chicago. Handsome FBI agent Austin Reynolds gravitates to Kristen, who struggles with the patient Dell, a man from church who wants more from Kristen than she’s willing to give, but who also fits the killer’s profile. Sprinkled throughout are diary entries from the killer; poured more liberally is Kristen’s introspection on life, love, family, men, and her fellow detectives, plus a sprinkling of theology, as she struggles to find balance in her world while catching a killer. Genre aficionados may wish for less inner chatter from the intrepid detective and more actual police work, though readers can’t help enjoying this new voice. (Apr.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781617950339
  • Publisher: Worthy Publishing
  • Publication date: 4/1/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 45,398
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

M. K. GILROY has helped create hundreds of projects and launch dozens of authors, working in every area of the publishing industry from his first job as a proofreader to executive vice president and publisher—and just about everything in between. Gilroy’s debut novel, Cuts Like a Knife, is a tribute to a love for character-driven mysteries and thrillers—with a sprinkling of theology and self-reflective angst added for good measure. Gilroy resides in Brentwood, Tennessee.
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Read an Excerpt

Cuts Like a Knife

A Novel


By M.K. Gilroy

WORTHY PUBLISHING

Copyright © 2012 Mark Gilroy Creative LLC
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-61795-033-9


CHAPTER 1

March 31, 9:59 p.m.


I should have stayed in California. It was seventy degrees in San Diego yesterday. Almost orange on the weather map. It snowed here last week. And then the DePaul University kids showed up in swimsuits at Wrigley for the Cubs game today. I was stuck next to a screaming troop of baboons. They distracted me from a good game. One yammering monkey spilled beer on my scorecard. I hate it when my scorecard gets smudged. I like a neat scorecard. If I sit near that profane waste of human life again—and he howls at drunk girls in bikinis the whole game—I will kill him. I wonder if he's bright or ever sober enough to realize that's not a figure of speech when I use it.

Maybe I'll teach him what the word exsanguination means. A slice to the femoral artery would be a simple and effective lesson—much too kind for him, really. He spilled beer on my scorecard.

I can't figure out what to wear in this wasteland of broken asphalt. I left my jacket at home when I went to the art museum two days ago. I froze on the walk over. It almost hurt as much as suffering through the Mark Rothko exhibit. I think I know why he killed himself. That's not art; that's misery with a straight edge. Then I put my jacket on the same afternoon and was sweating. I don't like to sweat when I'm not in my workout clothes.

Chicago weather. Why would anyone want to live here? I should be able to help a few of the city's denizens find ultimate relief.

My days of living in self-imposed limbo are coming to an end Six months of restraint and anticipation. Painful. Excruciatingly painful. Being denied of what is rightfully mine—not being able to experience my life in full. It has been torture to my soul. But you don't do what I do without a precise and careful system. And personal discipline. I am rich in both. That's what makes me unique. Special. A force above all others.

They don't have a clue as to who I am and all I've accomplished yet. That's good. But that makes me feel sad, too. My signature artistry will never be on exhibit for the world to marvel at. I suspect certain law enforcement agencies know I exist by now. I would certainly hope so. But what can they do about it? Nothing. I'm too careful, too meticulous, too good. Someone is sitting behind a computer right now looking for me and wondering where I'll show up next. I bet I'm driving him crazy. Maybe it's a her.

Tomorrow is April Fools' Day. Fools indeed.

Here I am. Sitting at the precipice of my next great work. Ready.

I am back.

CHAPTER 2

Mom, I told you this isn't a good time. I've got to go."

"Honey, it's never a good time."

"I know, Mom, but it really isn't a good time this time. I have to go. Now."

My partner looks at me with utter incredulity. He's just bounced our car through a couple potholes, slammed the gearshift into park, and unbuttoned his sports jacket. I see him flip the snap on his holster for easy access to his Glock. I shouldn't have picked up Mom's call, but I thought I could get off the phone fast. She keeps nagging that I never pick up. Now I'm going to hear how I'm always the first to hang up. I can't win.

"Mom, I'll call you back. I'm getting off right now. I have—"

"You'll be at Jimmy and Kaylen's Sunday?"

"Yes, Mom. I have—"

"And church?"

I don't get to answer because Don reaches over, snatches my cell phone from my hand, and hits the red "end call" button. I wonder if it's possible to make the sound of slamming the phone down by hitting the button with force. If so, Don just did it.

"Momma's going to have to wait, Kristen. He isn't going to hang around all day waiting for us to say hi. Let's get in there. Now."

A surge of adrenaline courses through my body as I step out of the car, touch the gun that's holstered on my side one more time—just to make sure it hasn't mysteriously disappeared—snap and unsnap the top strap, and head into the Gas & Grub, game face on.

As we walk through the door the two guys working the cash register nervously look up at us, probably wondering if they're about to get busted for selling cigarettes to minors again. We pulled into the parking lot in our unmarked, mud-brown Crown Victoria—not the world's greatest disguise when you want to approach a suspect under the radar. The extra antennae on the trunk lid don't help either. Might as well put a Chicago Police Department billboard on the roof in neon letters.

My partner, Don Squires, gives a nod as he heads down one aisle and I take the one next to it. I quickly round the corner to cut off our suspect's line of escape. Don is four or five feet away from him on one side and I position myself an equal distance away.

"Don't move. Leave your hands where we can see them," Don says with the throat-rumbling snarl he saves for special occasions like this.

Lloyd, a friend and a 300-pound EMT from one of the ambulance services, recognized the punk's description from an APA bulletin and put the call straight to my cell phone. I know what Lloyd was doing there and need to kick his butt for eating those quarter-pound hot dogs they serve. I called Dispatch for backup while Don hung a U-turn in heavy traffic and stomped on the accelerator.

The punk, late teens or early twenties, is a retro-'80s piece of work. He's wearing a black T-shirt with a skull and the name of a group that I don't recognize in jagged, blood-red letters dripping off a computer screen. TwistedTweeters. Clever—almost. He's got a thick heavy chain hanging from the front pocket of his black jeans, connected to what I assume is a wallet that he doesn't like to use, based on his current crime spree. All he needs is those black boots with the metal and leather straps to finish his ensemble. But surprisingly he has on a pair of comfort shoes that look like what we used to rent at the bowling alley; all black, of course, but you can see the stitching. Footwear isn't going to slow him down if he makes a run for it. But it's not going to be an issue; he has nowhere to go.

Neither Don nor I have pulled guns because the convenience store is packed. Doesn't mean our hands aren't touching the brushed metal grips, however. There must be twenty gas pumps out front on a busy street. And people from the blue-collar, working-class urban neighborhood are using the back door too. So we've got people coming and going from every direction. No sense starting a panic. We have a CPD mandate that prohibits us from taking risks that are likely to result in collateral damage—even if it means allowing a suspect to escape. Not that that's happening today.

I'm staring at the punk's hands. If he even twitches anywhere near a pocket, my Beretta 96 is coming out in a hurry.

The kid looks up to see Don holding up his detective shield. Even with the punk in near profile, I can see his glare of hatred. He mouths something to Don that I can't make out, but I'm guessing he's not complimenting him on his choice of ties this morning. Don bristles and they face off. I want to jam the kid's arm behind his back right now, but protocol says I wait for Don to issue verbal instructions. If the punk doesn't obey, then the leash comes off. Relax. Follow the rules.

The punk is probably six foot one and less than 170 pounds, soaking wet. Did I mention the tattoos and slouch? Even if he wasn't into armed robbery, which turned just short of lethal for the seventy-seven-year-old victim who fought back, I still wouldn't like this kid on sight. We're obviously not supposed to profile, but my daddy didn't raise a fool. This is a kid who screams anger and rebellion at the world without having to move his lips.

My money is on Don if this takedown gets physical. Heck, my money is on me if Don decides to turn around, pour himself a cup of coffee with two creamers, and leave the heavy lifting to me. I can take this punk. I'm not the greatest shot, but I've taken every hand-to-hand combat course the Chicago Police Department offers.

The punk breaks eye contact with Don and then turns toward where I block the other end of the aisle. He slowly looks me up and down and smiles. I'll give the jerk credit for being cool under pressure. He rolls his eyes and blows me a kiss. He will pay for that. Suddenly he slings a spinner rack filled with chips in Don's direction. As Don pushes the rack aside, the punk vaults over the condiment counter between us. Nacho cheese sauce and pickle relish fly everywhere. He knocks two people down by the dairy cooler and crashes through the back door in a frantic sprint. I wonder if I can hit a moving target with the Beretta while running. Just a flesh wound.

I'm half hoping he wants to play rough, because I'm more than ready. He nearly beat a senior citizen to death—and he just made us look foolish with his escape. Temporary escape. This won't be the first time I ask God to forgive me for wanting to smash someone bad's face in today—or tomorrow—but I badly want to be the one who cuffs him. Tightly.

Don and I bump shoulders in the doorway to the back lot, but don't lose a step. Don's wearing his shiny black leather wingtip shoes, which are not good for speed. I have no sympathy. I've told Don forty times to get some Rockports or Eccos with a soft, flexible, comfortable sole. He just looks at me in abject horror. Focus, Kristen.

The kid is surprisingly fast. Real fast. I wish some nice high school track coach could have gotten a hold of him before he got into all this trouble. He clears the lot behind the Gas & Grub and turns right on a residential street of classic Chicago row houses. Don is sprinter fast—he was a running back in college, he likes to remind us—but if the kid makes us run more than half a mile, he'll be sucking air and puking. I was a college soccer player and ran distance back in high school. I may still complete a marathon someday. Depends on if my surgically repaired knee will hold up.

I already hear Don's labored breathing as we near the street. I've barely broken a sweat. I make a hard right on the sidewalk two or three steps ahead of Don. A kid on a bike swerves to miss me and plows into my partner. I slow to see the two of them sprawled out on the sidewalk. I look the other way and can see the punk's at least fifty yards ahead, not a good thing, so it's time to turn it up a notch. My macho-man partner won't like it, but this is no time to make sure his male ego gets proper care and feeding. Don's on his feet and helping the kid up as I give chase on my own. He shouts, "Fall back and regroup. Too dangerous. Kristen! Hey, KC, hold up!"

"You fall back," I yell over my shoulder, which isn't very mature. I hate when people call me KC. I don't think I have a major anger issue, even if I do have a temper. Despite what my mom says. But lately, I admit, I get mad at people pretty easily. Too easily. Dad said I'd grow out of it, but I wonder if it's an occupational hazard. Focus, Kristen. Pick up the pace. Fast hands!

I let my track training take over, speeding up my hand movements but keeping my arms low.

My feet follow my hands' lead and I am closing the gap on the punk. I can't believe he's run this hard, this far. But that adrenaline is going to burn out soon. I'm not going full speed but I've lengthened my stride and am on pace to run a sub-six-minute mile. My energy tank is not close to empty.

The punk turns into an alley and I'm less than half a basketball court away. Top of the circle and taking it to the hoop, baby. I barely slow down as I round the corner, and now he's in my sights. He rolls two metal trashcans in my path. Amateur. Did I mention that I did hurdles for my high school track team too? The effort has slowed him down, but not me. I am going to catch him soon, any way you look at it. He'll have to make a decision really soon. Fight or flight.

The punk turns to face me and he has a knife in his hand. So it's fight. Not only is he fast enough to make any high school track team in the city; he can just as easily get a part as a Shark or Jet in the school's rendition of West Side Story.

I'm mad he's managed to surprise me. Stupid. The knife has been his MO in all three of his known robberies. I put on the brakes fast before I run right into his range of attack and reach toward the small of my back for my Beretta, but the punk is already rushing at me. He's red in the face and sucking air, but he lunges quickly to close the gap before I can de-holster my weapon.

On cop shows and in the movies all you have to do to deflect slashing metal is employ some serious martial arts moves. Even if you were trained to fight by Jackie Chan, it doesn't work that way. When two people fight and one has a razor-honed blade, the person without the weapon is going to lose some blood.

His first slash catches the sleeve of my suit coat and pops the button off as I dance away. No problem. Mom will sew it back on—and it was a half-off of a half-off sale at Macy's anyway. I feel just a trickle of blood soaking my sleeve. Okay, he got more than a button. So much for Mom rescuing it with her Singer. I barely felt it, so I don't think he got deep—hopefully not enough to scar. I don't want another scar. I have enough from ACL surgeries.

I am on my toes and jump back and dance to the left. He circles and gives a head fake in my direction like he's going to charge. I jump again and he smiles. He's way too cool about this; he's done it before. His next move is a step left and then right. I lean the wrong way and he slashes at my face with a wide sweep of the knife. My head jerks back and he misses, but I swear I felt the air on my cheek. His feints and parries make reaching for my gun next to impossible. For the first time, I wonder if I should've waited for Don.

Simply evading the knife isn't working. If the punk can go on the offensive, so can I. I stutter to my left and he mirrors it. I quickly spin right this time and let loose a round-house kick that I bet is beautiful to behold. Not as fine as a Jackie Chan move, but well executed.

But the punk ducks under my kick and I miss his head. I catch some shoulder and he stumbles. I pounce with a combination jab to his ribs and jaw. I thought I had him nailed, but this dude knows how to slip a punch. He staggers back, instantly recovers, and kicks at me. I rotate sideways so his shoe scuffs my hip with no damage. He takes a step back but lunges straight at me, steel in hand leading the way. This punk is fast. And sneaky. I move to block his knife thrust. He anticipates that perfectly and throws a tight left hook that clips the edge of my chin. Way too close. I try to hook his foot and trip him. He jumps and spins, slashing at me again. I catch his wrist and use his momentum to half-turn him. I finally connect with all my weight behind a punch to his kidneys. It doesn't put him down, but from the sound he makes, I know I hurt him. Suddenly he throws an elbow that catches me square in the side of the head. My ears ring. But I hold on to his arm and jam a knuckle into his upper back, digging for the suprascapular nerve, which should put him on the ground and slow his arm movement.

He's a fighter. He almost catches me with a back head snap and when I flinch he is free again, but not without me getting a nice kick to his right quad just above the knee. A little lower and he'd be down for the count. A foot and a half higher and he'd sing soprano in the choir. We face each other. Both of us are in fighting position and looking for an opening to attack. He is limping, but I've learned not to trust appearances with him—he's sly and resourceful. I dart in and get a combination to his torso but miss the solar plexus. I am back out as his knife slashes through air. Slower than before. I've got him. I'm crouched and ready to spin in either direction. Our eyes meet and lock.

His eyes dilate. He drops the knife and raises his arms.

Don walks past me calmly, his gun aimed at the center of the punk's chest.

"Keep your hands where I can see them, kick the knife to the side, and get down on your knees." There's a nanosecond of hesitation and Don shouts, "Now!"

"Make it easy for us and I'll make it easy for you," I add as I push him flat on his face, maybe with a little extra nudge, and cuff his hands behind him. I see blood splatters on the shiny metal.

Don keeps the gun trained on the punk as he hits a speed button on his cell phone to tell the uniforms where we are.

"We got him," he says to me as he snaps his flip phone shut.

"We?" I ask him, but not loud enough or with enough conviction to start a fight.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Cuts Like a Knife by M.K. Gilroy. Copyright © 2012 Mark Gilroy Creative LLC. Excerpted by permission of WORTHY PUBLISHING.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 75 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(33)

4 Star

(27)

3 Star

(7)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(5)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 75 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 9, 2012

    Good book. I enjoyed the the fast paced storyline that kept me

    Good book. I enjoyed the the fast paced storyline that kept me guessing as to the identity of the killer. In addition to the twists and turns, I must admit that I really like the characters. Of course, Detective Kristen Conner was the focal point of the story. Her relationship with her family, the interaction with her fellow officers, and her personal struggle with anger and trust issues added a sense of realism and bit of humor. So, yes, I'd recommend this book and would hope that there would be another one in the near future.

    23 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 8, 2012

    Funny, Scary, Fast-paced

    I love suspense thrillers from the likes of Daniel Silva and Lee Child.

    This book introduces a fabulous character, detective Kristen Conner - she loves God and family but struggles with her temper and ends up in conflict with everyone - despite having a heart of gold. She's great at martial arts but lousy with her Baretta. She's relentless and intuitive. She goes face to face with an incredibly interesting and creepy killer.

    A new author and series to check out!

    20 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 6, 2012

    M. K. Gilroy's first novel will leave you anxious for the series to continue.

    Cuts Like a Knife, M. K Gilroy's, debut novel surprises you when you are sure you have followed every twist and introduces you to characters that you want to get to know. If you are a fan of John Sanford or Julia Spencer-Flemming this book will introduce you to a new author that can keep you turning the pages past your bedtime and leave you impatiently awaiting the next volume. I highly recommend Cuts Like a Knife. Enjoy!

    18 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 2, 2012

    You must check it out!

    There are many books out there to choose from with thrilling action, intense mystery, intriguing romance, or complex characters, but CUTS LIKE A KNIFE has it all! I was compelled to keep turning pages until the very end. A fun, exciting and interesting read…go get it, now!

    17 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2012

    Excellent

    FAST PACED IREALLY ENJOYED IT AND WILL READ MORE FROM THIS AUTHOR

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2013

    I stayed up most of the night to finish it!

    I really enjoyed this detective serial-killer mystery. Although many elements of the plot were formulaic, I found the protagonist very interesting and appealing. Gilroy gets into the mind of his female hero and makes her life important to the reader - I cared a lot about her safety and the eventual outcome. I would gladly read more by the same author if they are this good!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2013

    The first 350 pages were boring

    It took me forever to read the first 3/4 of the book.
    I will say the last 75 pages were exciting but not
    enough for me to read another Gilroy book.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2012

    The writer of this book, and the proof readers, obviously do not

    The writer of this book, and the proof readers, obviously do not know the proper use of pronouns. Time and again I was jarred by the misuse of pronouns throughout the story. I was so put off by this that it interfered
    with my concentration and attention to the story line. An example would be: It was for him and I. Give me a break! Surely SOMEONE knew the proper usage before this book went to press.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2012

    Slow moving

    Too much distraction from the story with frivolous uninteresting and useless dialogue. Most points about the main character and her family were emphasized over and over and over again. Four hundred pages should be reduced to 200. I do not want to put a well written book down because each page draws me to the next; however, this book was broring and made me want to stop reading it after about 75 pages. Why didn't I? I did want to know who was the murderer so I would skip ten or twenty pages at a time without losing the main story line. Would i purchase another book by this author...NO!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 26, 2012

    An intense, eerie, funny and suspenseful thriller ... M.K. Gilro

    An intense, eerie, funny and suspenseful thriller ... M.K. Gilroy's debut is a sure-fire winner." - USA TODAY

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2013

    wasnt a fan

    this book was kind of boring and took me awhile to read because i just wasnt that interested in it

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2013

    llnail bitting suspense

    I couldn't put this book down........it is a must read

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2013

    For strong Christian faith readers

    I am assuming this is a Christian publishing company hence the lack of "dirty vices" in this novel. First, I commend M.K. Gilroy for writing such a clean, Christian friendly novel - with Kirk Cameron producing such movies, I hope this novelist gains recognition. But my second point - I saw numerous grammatical errors just in the sample and the opening fight scene to arrest the "punk" lost my attention. I am a Christian who knows plenty Chicago cops and I have not befriended any so polite or faithful as of yet. M.K. Gilroy, I hope your novel inspires others to act as kindly as your protagonist. Back to my vice....Gillian Flynn.....but I wish you so much success!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2013

    This book kept me interested from page one until the end. Not on

    This book kept me interested from page one until the end. Not only a very good mystery, but Kristen's struggles with her father's death, her faith and her family make for a very "human" detective story. Highly recommend this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2013

    Good Read

    I really enjoyed this book. The characters were very relatable and the plot engrosing. I was up late several nights because I couldn't put the book down. I hope there is a sequel!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 14, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Recommend

    I really enjoyed this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2012

    awesome book, I have read many mystery novels, this was a hard t

    awesome book, I have read many mystery novels, this was a hard to put down book. It was easy though to pick right back up if you only had a few minutes to read a couple of pages. Looking forward to seeing the next book from this author.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2012

    Oh nooo

    Juvenile description makes the book boring. It goes on and on unnecessary details. I could only make through 1/3 of the book. Characters are boring. Dont waste your time and money. If you wrote this was a fast paste book you haven't read any good book yet.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 27, 2012

    This is a good book for a cold winter day. It is full of action

    This is a good book for a cold winter day. It is full of action that will keep you on the edge of your seat up to the final page. It is one that makes you wonder, who is he, and when and how will be caught .

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2012

    Explorer

    Great book left me wanting more

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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