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by Rick Mofina
Pinnacle, September 2007
352 pages
ISBN: 0786018488

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Sister Anne has devoted her entire religious life to caring for those most in need, those with the least resources. When she is brutally murdered, the most obvious solution to the case would seem to rest with one of those she served Ė perhaps someone who didnít appreciate the help, one of the mentally ill, the husband of a battered woman, a drug abuser in search of money.

Jason Wade doesnít buy the easy solution. Nobody wants to really listen to Jason, particularly his bosses at The Seattle Mirror. They have demoted him to being the only reporter on the night shift of the police beat. Cassie Appleton had lied when caught in a major error, and blamed Jason for her mistake.

This demotion has shaken Jasonís faith in himself and his abilities as a reporter. While determined to get to the bottom of Sister Anneís death, he is constantly second-guessing his decisions, fearful that one more mistake will get him fired. It doesnít help that his ex-cop father, a recovering alcoholic, chooses to call on Jason for help in the middle of all the excitement. Jason has a certain amount of guilt connected to his relationship with his dad.

Jason looks into Sister Anneís past, convinced that this has more bearing on her murder than her work. This research takes him places he would never have imagined, and causes him to tap resources and strengths he hasnít used in a while. It also brings him into conflict with his bosses at The Mirror, as well as requiring him to place his fatherís claims upon his time on a back burner.

This is Mofinaís seventh book. He knows how to tell a story, how to create characters that demand some reaction from the reader, how to make the setting real and yet unobtrusive. The characters in A PERFECT GRAVE arenít always the people one would like them to be, but life is like that. Wadeís self-doubt wears on one after a while, but not enough to make him totally unbelievable Ė just annoying.

The Seattle that Mofina uses as his setting isnít one that most tourists would want to encounter, but itís no less real for that. A PERFECT GRAVE isnít a perfect mystery, but itís worth reading if a good story is what one has in mind.

Reviewed by P. J. Coldren, September 2007

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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