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by Robert Andrews
Berkley, April 2003
349 pages
ISBN: 0425189422

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

D.C. homicide detectives Franklin (Frank) Delano Kearney and Josephus (Jose) Phelps have been partners for twenty-five years and they had never heard of, or seen, a serial killer in their area ­ until now.

Randolph Emerson, Phelps and Kearneyıs boss, doesnıt want to believe that a serial killer is on the loose, but as women, one after another, are being killed and each one has their little finger cut off and taken away, Emerson has to reevaluate his beliefs.

When a writer for the Washington Post, Mary Keegan, is found dead, the case becomes very high profile. Everyone from Emerson up to the Mayor of D.C. wants the murderer to be found ­ fast!

During their investigation, Kearney and Phelps discover some interesting things. All the women were very upset for a month or so before they were killed and each thought that they were being followed. It turns out that the stalker watched them by not only physically following them, but also by keeping track of all the personal information they put into their computers. The stalker is a hacker.

One of the murdered women belonged to an online book club and received books that she never ordered; one was THE FISHER KING, the story of the hunt for the Holy Grail. She canceled her account with the company as soon as she realized that someone must have gotten into her account information.

All of these clues lead the detectives to Lore.com, the Internet provider for every one of the murdered women. Itıs there that Kearney and Phelps discover that the IP offers a game to all their subscribers. The online gameıs quest is the hunt for The Holy Grail and to try to kill The Fisher King. With millions of subscribers the detectives wonder if they will ever find the murderer. And another question also haunts them ­ until they do, how many more women will the madman kill?

Author Robert Andrews fills A MURDER OF PROMISE with very believable characters. I especially liked the relationship that Kearney and Phelps have with each other. Theyıre professional and caring about the victims they come across, but we also see the part of them that they have in common with other homicide detectives. In order to protect themselves from the horror of what they must deal with, they make jokes. Andrews does a fine job in letting the readers feel for and understand why these two men have the need to laugh during those gruesome moments.

Kearneyıs father, Tom, a retired D.C. judge has a major part in the book as well. The judge is just getting over a stroke and is forced to stay with his son while he recovers. Tom adds an older and wiser voice to the story. Through his thoughts and opinions, the readers learn a lot about D.C. politics and the quality of the people involved in its shenanigans.

All the characters are wonderfully fleshed out and have rounded three-dimensional backgrounds that help you understand why they do what they do.

This book is the second in this series by Robert Andrews and I hope to see many more stories with Frank and Jose. I highly recommend A MURDER OF PROMISE. The ending is superb and you wonıt be able to put it down.

Reviewed by Sharon Katz, April 2003

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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