A Taylor Case Mystery by C. R. Cardin
Review: C. R. Cardin introduces forensic science professor Dr. Taylor Case who becomes involved in an investigation of a kidnapped boy in Case Study.
Teaching students is Taylor's day job but she leads a secret double life bringing child pornographers to justice. Despite lacking any official capacity, she is instrumental in ensuring that the criminals are arrested, even to the point of planting evidence for the authorities to find. She believes that her own brother was kidnapped years ago for the purposes of being forced into pornography and is obsessed with finding him, or at least knowing what happened to him. When a young boy living on the same street as her sister goes missing, she's convinced he's been kidnapped and undertakes a secret investigation separate from the FBI to locate him and return him to his home.
Though Case Study is a routinely plotted mystery, it is unusual both in how it is written and a specific tangential subplot that is introduced along the way. The narrative is roughly evenly divided between the perspective of Taylor and that of the FBI. When Taylor is in the picture, the prose is terse, almost brusque, as if she is emotionless or at best humorless. This may be partly intentional to illustrate how she developed as an adult, from her relationship with her father to the loss of her brother. It's unnerving at times to read. About midway through, the FBI takes over and the writing style reverts to that more commonly found in a police procedural. The subplot involves a visiting scientist to whom Taylor finds herself sexually attracted. She fears the scientist may in some way be associated with child pornography, yet she allows her physical desire to overtake her intellectual and emotional revulsion. It's a bit of a rollercoaster ride for both Taylor and the reader yet at the same time seems oddly incompatible with the mystery.
In large part Case Study reads as if sections of two or three different and incomplete outlines for books were melded here, the result being a not quite cohesive story that works at some level but appears unfinished nonetheless.
Acknowledgment: Evolution Press provided a copy of Case Study for this review.
Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Case Study:
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Case Study by C. R. Cardin — A Taylor Case Mystery
Publisher: Evolution Press
Publication Date: May 2008
List Price: $23.95