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PASSIONS OF THE DEAD
By L. J. Sellers
Spellbinder Press, October 2010 ($13.99)
Reviewed Shirley Wetzel
Detective Wade Jackson is called out to the scene of a horrific crime. In a quiet, peaceful working-class neighborhood in Eugene, Oregon, an entire family has been brutally attacked, and the one survivor, a teenage girl, is barely clinging to life. The Walkers seemed to be a normal family, although they'd recently fallen on hard times. Both parents were laid off because of the poor economy. As the investigation goes on, information is uncovered that gives a motive to one of the suspects, but the deeper he digs, the more confusing the case becomes.
Lori Walker, though gravely injured, begins to recover. Her first word is the name of the main suspect, but a few days later she doesn't remember anything about the night of the attack, and denies that the person she named could be the killer. As her memory slowly returns, Jackson fears she may be in danger from the killer or killers, and does his best to protect her.
Jackson's relationship with Kera, a nurse for Planned Parenthood, is going through some growing pains. They met eight months ago when her clinic was bombed (THE SEX CLUB), and a relationship quickly developed. He and his teenage daughter Katie are now living with Kera, Dannette, the girlfriend of Kera's deceased son, and their baby, Kera's grandson. Jackson is feeling a little crowded, and longs for more of Kera's attention, and for some privacy and intimacy. He's still recovering from major surgery for a rare and potentially fatal condition, and is worried about his long-term prognosis. To add to his stress, his alcoholic ex-wife wants to spend more time with Katie, and Jackson isn't sure she's stable enough to take care of the girl.
This is the fourth entry in Seller's excellent Detective Jackson mystery series. As in the previous books in the series, the author weaves a complex mystery/police procedural. This story has a wicked and clever twist at the end. Her characters are three-dimensional, believable, people dealing with the problems and stresses of everyday life.
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