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ONE BY ONE
by Sarah Cain
Crooked Lane Books, March 2017
336 pages
$26.99
ISBN: 168331087X


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Danny Ryan, formerly a newspaper reporter, is back in a new career as an independent investigative journalist in the second novel in the Danny Ryan Mystery series. It's more than two years since his wife and young son died and he has moved into a wonderful old house in Philadelphia and is working pretty steadily and developing good new relationships. Confused by a message from Greg Moss, a high school classmate whom he hasn't had contact with in years, Danny agrees to meet him in a tappie called The Shamrock which happened to be his alcoholic and abusive cop father's watering hole of choice. Moss has been receiving odd text messages made up of Bible quotes that are negative and rather threatening and he wants Danny to look into them quietly Moss can't afford any kind of publicity because he is deeply involved with a company named Cromoca that brokers land deals in Philadelphia and New Jersey through prominent politicians. He doesn't want anything to rock his lucrative boat.

But it turns out that several other classmates of theirs have also been receiving Bible texts and most of them have died, either in suspicious accidents or by way of a nine millimeter bullet to the heart. Very quickly, Danny himself receives an odd text and makes arrangements to meet Moss at Moss's house to find out what Moss hasn't told him about what's going on. Accompanied by a younger reporter named Alex (a female Alex) Danny drives out to Moss's very nice house but what he finds is a very dead Greg Moss who shows signs of torture as well as murder.

Danny's brother who has followed in their dad's footsteps into the police force is a good guy who is able to help Danny and Alex get some of the information they are looking for even though he generally disapproves of Danny's sleuthing and the danger he always ends up in. More and more of Danny's old classmates come onto the scene, including a few who died long ago.

Without being stupidly foolish, Danny and Alex stumble into all kinds of trouble and it becomes more and more clear that the one who threatens all of them is psychologically unbalanced and totally focused on his or her agenda.

This is not an easy mystery for readers to figure out no matter what clues are tossed their way the minds of the deranged are pretty darned inscrutable. But the novel has a strong pace and loads of twists in the plot and offers an entertaining getaway for those who pick it up. Danny Ryan is a solid protagonist. He'll be back.

Diana Borse is retired from teaching English at Texas A&M University-Kingsville and savoring the chance to read as much as she always wanted to.

Reviewed by Diana Borse, March 2017

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)


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