Overkill - A Maggie Ryan Mysteryby Susan McBride
Susan McBride is the author of AND THEN SHE WAS GONE, the first in the Maggie Ryan Mystery Series, nominated for a Reviewers' Choice Award for Best First Mystery by RT magazine and a PUBLIB Best Book of 2000. Her work appears in the anthology, THE SPIRIT OF WRITING: CLASSIC AND CONTEMPORARY ESSAYS CELEBRATING THE WRITING LIFE/b>
About the Author
Susan McBride is the author of AND THEN SHE WAS GONE, the first in the Maggie Ryan Mystery Series, nominated for a Reviewers' Choice Award for Best First Mystery by RT magazine and a PUBLIB Best Book of 2000. Her work appears in the anthology, THE SPIRIT OF WRITING: CLASSIC AND CONTEMPORARY ESSAYS CELEBRATING THE WRITING LIFE (Tarcher/Putnam). She's a Journalism School graduate from the University of Kansas.
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Litchfield, Texas, a quiet suburb of Dallas, hasn't had a homicide in more than four years. That's why police detective Maggie Ryan transferred to Litchfield from the DPD, because she could no longer stomach the fights, the shootings, and the knifings. But when Maggie and her partner, John Phillips, are called to investigate the murder of sixteen-year-old Pauletta Thomas while she sat peacefully on her school bus, it's almost more than she can handle. In her second suspense novel, Overkill, author Susan McBride weaves a taut suspense/mystery tale that leaves the reader looking over his/her shoulder. Pauletta is a victim of Williams' Syndrome, a physical and mental disability in which its sufferers 'test like retarded children, talk like gifted children, behave like disturbed children and function like a learning disabled child.' Was Pauletta's murder just another random of violence, or was she the intended target? Why was the murderer so brutal in his attack on the happy-go-lucky teenager? And perhaps, more important, why did the gunman leave the school bus driver critically injured and two Downs Syndrome girls alive and untouched? What could Pauletta possible have done? Or seen? Along the way, the investigation into Pauletta's murder stirs up old memories that Maggie has never resolved. While her mother lies in a coma in a nearby hospital, Maggie fights her own hatred, her own vulnerability, her own demons. McBride does an outstanding job in creating a character that is tough enough to handle the job of a twenty-first century cop. In handling Maggie's demons, McBride does the reader a service by not giving away all the gory details, but lets the readers fills them in along the way. Gleaned from today's society of school shootings and increasingly violence by and toward children, McBride shatters not only the tiny town of Litchfield, but makes the reader feel vulnerable as well. Overkill is every parent's, and every police officer's, nightmare. First the desperate hunt to find the killer, the hot tips that lead to a cold trail, then coming to grips that with the horrific realities that no one is ever really safe.
Former Dallas police officer Maggie Ryan quit the big city force because of the high death rate and the unending supply of hardened criminals to deal with everyday. She transferred to suburban Litchfield where one homicide has occurred in the last decade. Maggie and her partner investigate the killing of a special education teenager afflicted with Wilson¿s Syndrome riding a school bus and the shooting of the driver. The police, especially Maggie, want to catch the killer, but have no evidence and a witness whose memory is at best fuzzy. Maggie keeps digging, trying to find the motive for killing a learning disabled innocent. Susan McBride lives up to the promise of her first book, AND THEN SHE WAS GONE, with a powerful gritty tale. OVERKILL depicts the darkest of human emotions that cause individuals to bypass their better impulses so they can perform ugly deeds. The protagonist provides no easy answers as readers admire her ability to survive hell making her quite a role model for both genders. On top of that the exciting mystery with its unforeseen climax makes this a must read. Harriet Klausner