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by Lori Andrews
St Martin's Minotaur, May 2007
304 pages
ISBN: 0312352719

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

According to the author's biography on the book jacket, Lori Andrews is "a renowned expert on law and genetics" and her work was instrumental when it came to the Human Genome Project. She has written several acclaimed books on the subject and she should have quit while she was still ahead. There is a lot of work that needs to be done if she wants to be taken seriously when it comes to writing fiction.

Dr Alexandra Blake was first introduced in SEQUENCE working as a geneticist in the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology. She was forced to use her skills in order to work on forensic matters at the behest of the government and other law enforcement agencies. She thought she would hate doing that, but once she saw how important her work was, she ended her reluctance.

In THE SILENT ASSASSIN Alexandra's job is to clean up a stash of trophy skulls collected by US soldiers during the Vietnam War. The skulls were desecrated, to put it mildly, and they are to be returned to their homeland in less than a month. It doesn't help that there is a killer on the loose with his own agenda. Things are not as simple as it first appears, but once again Alexandra will have all the information she needs to break the case wild open.

THE SILENT ASSASSIN is a much better work than SEQUENCE, but not by much. It is clear that the author knows her subject and, at least this time, she tones herself down by not bogging the story down with the unnecessary details.

The other thing involves the book's character development especially when it comes to the novel's protagonist. In SEQUENCE, the book was filled with too many made-for-television moments that makes the plot appear to be too much of a stretch with its requisite weak woman becoming tough in too short a time. In this latest book, the character quirks are still there in full force, from the place where she lives to her on-again/off-again dalliance with a touring musician. At least here, her actions are a bit more believable than in the previous work when it comes to trying to do the right thing. However she still needs a lot of work before she can gain credibility as a character, something that is not going to happen here. Dr Alexandra Blake has already two strikes against me. I doubt I will let there be a third.

Reviewed by Angel L. Soto, July 2007

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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