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Posted March 18, 2014
Having just finished reading “Death’s Way” by author, Christopher Valen, I can immediately state that I was not disappointed. “Death’s Way” was a fast-paced, well-written book, but of course I didn’t really find that surprising. I had previously read Valen’s prior release: “Bone Shadows,” therefore I was quite familiar with his writing skills and the various twists and turns that Valen always works seamlessly, and expertly, into the storyline.
In “Death’s Way” we continue on with another John Santana novel. For those who are unfamiliar with this series, Santana is a homicide detective on the St. Paul Minnesota Police Department payroll. While Santana does come with his own personal baggage; he is a man of integrity whose main goal in life, (other than survival), is to see that justice is done. He seems rather old school and out of place in a world of values that don't match his own, yet that is what sets him apart from the rest.
In “Death’s Way” we, the reader, start our journey in the wee hours of the morning. We discover ourselves in an escort’s hotel room - the scene of an apparent accidental death by autoerotic asphyxiation. All the evidence points to an accident, but for some unknown reason Santana is not convinced. And even though the coroner has also labeled this death accidental, Santana feels obligated to treat it as a homicide. He has nothing more than his gut instinct to rely on; however, Santana has learned long ago that his instinct usually grasps more than his eyes.
I don’t want to provide any more of the story, but I will confirm that this is yet another “must read.” In summary, Valen is a master of words, of plots and subplots, and subplots within subplots. In “Death’s Way” Valen has once again crafted a spellbinding tale of mystery, murder, intrigue and the unexplained. His readers, both old and new, will not be disappointed. Five stars…
Reviewed by Author Charline Ratcliff for Rebecca’s Reads (3/14)
Posted March 5, 2014
Reviewed by Dr. Oliva Dsouza for Readers' Favorite
There is something fishy about the apparent suicide of an escort and St.Paul Homicide Detective, John Santana is determined to find out the truth. He and his partner, Kacie Hawkins, start their investigations which seem to get murkier and murkier. When a young girl claiming to be the reincarnation of another similarly murdered victim turns up at Santana's office, the case takes a turn. With the Costa Rican connection thrown in, the very existence of John Santana is threatened. Secrets from the closets of the rich and famous tumble out to reveal skeletons that make the case take a totally different angle. As Santana goes deeper into the past and connects the dots, people start dropping dead like nine pins around him. Who is covering their tracks? Is it just coincidence or is there really a serial killer out there?
Wow! Christopher Valen has done an extremely good job of making sure his latest offering, Death's Way, keeps you glued to the book till the end. The methodical way in which John Santana goes about piecing together the evidence in the case holds the reader's interest all the way. The author has researched his story well and ties up all the loose ends beautifully. The track on reincarnation is woven into the plot effortlessly and the idea seems almost believable. Kudos to Christopher Valen for having come up with a character like John Santana. The plot is like a potboiler that throws surprises at the reader and comes to a logical conclusion with facts that support the story.
Posted March 1, 2014
John Santana is a homicide detective in Minneapolis, Minnesota, but he's also living a secretive life from his past in his home country of Columbia. Perhaps this is why truth and justice are most important in his life, while others in the department just want to have cases solved and get promotions.
After a beautiful woman is found dead in a hotel room and her death is called accidental, Santana instinctively believes her autoerotic asphyxiation is actually murder. A number of famous Doctors --friends since college--seem to be involved. When one of these Doctors is then found dead from an apparent suicide, Santana decides this must be a set up, as he supposedly killed himself because he'd killed the dead woman who was also an escort.
This carefully plotted police procedural deals with the sex trade from Costa Rica, drug trafficking, a wrongly convicted murderer, and murderous drug cartels. There are numerous turns and twists, including a six year old girl who seems to be the reincarnation of another woman who died in a similar way years ago. Secrets and the meaning of life and death drive this intriguing and fast passed mystery. Reads well as it is, but there are four previous books in this series that could flesh out more of Santana's past that now seem like must reads for me.