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by Amy Talford
Silver Dagger Press, December 2001
206 pages
ISBN: 1570721947

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Silver Dagger Press ventures into the darker side of mystery with their December release of Amy Talford's riveting suspense novel, DYING TO MEET YOU. Born into a family known for its literary bent, Talford lives up to her lineage with this nightmarish tale of a psychopath bent on destroying anyone who stands in the way of his personal goals.

Basketball has always drawn its fair share of fanatics. But when women start dying, all of them connected in some way or another to the NBA's Nashville Jaguars, profiler Lori Patrick suspects that one particular fanatic has crossed the line into insanity. Murder alone is not enough for this killer known to the police as the Hangman. His real satisfaction seems to come from prolonging the deaths of his victims, then mutilating each woman in a manner that emphasizes her unique qualities.

Police detective Mike Mitchell doesn't buy into Lori's theories, but he's a man with a past who has experienced the work of profilers up close and personal and found it wanting. His prejudice makes for rough sailing when he's paired up with Patrick, an employee of the Chasm Academy for Serial Homicide. Not only is Patrick in a suspect profession, but she's also a woman with a serious drinking problem and a hidden past of her own. The two butt heads at every meeting, and their partnership seems as doomed as their efforts to catch the Hangman.

It's only when Lori becomes romantically involved with Calvin Ray, a member of the Jaguars and a suspect in the murders, that Mitchell finds himself caring what happens to the profiler. With the Hangman still on the loose and victims piling up in the morgue, Mitchell sets up a sting operation that backfires on Lori and leads to a horrifying climax to the book.

DYING TO MEET YOU is a downright scary suspense story. But more than that, it is a richly detailed look into the hearts and minds of two people forever maimed by tragic events. Lori Patrick and Mike Mitchell cope with guilt by turning it into a force for action, and thus, for personal redemption. By saving others, they save themselves, even if it's only for another day, another hour, another minute. Their work is their justification for living, and without the impetus of another killer to catch, another bad guy to put behind bars, neither one of them seems able to face the future. Their loneliness is as palpable as the pulse of a sprinter, their moments of

inner peace as sparse as the heartbeats of a dying man. Still, by the end of the book, the reader perceives some change in the emotional makeup of both characters. By opening up to each other, they've started to loosen the grip of the past on their lives. Their relationship is a tenuous one, but there's a sense of hope about it that argues for the healing power of love.

Does the human spirit ever fully recover from great tragedy? Is recovery possible for those who deal daily with the worst the world has to offer? If you like thought-provoking writing, characters with depth, and don't mind a little blood and gore in your mysteries, do read DYING TO MEET YOU. This chilling first novel by talented author Amy Talford is guaranteed to stir your heart while sending shivers down your spine. I have only one warning for readers: if you're a fan of basketball, this book will make you think twice about walking through those lonely stadium parking lots!

Reviewed by Mary V. Welk, December 2001

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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