Review: Michelle Gagnon introduces FBI special agent Kelly Jones in The Tunnels, a murder mystery set at a college in New England.
Kelly is back on familiar turf here: she is an alumnus of the college and is aware of, but not particularly familiar with, the series of tunnels that snake beneath the campus. These tunnels are the scenes of two horrific crimes: two female students have been hung in front of symbols painted on the tunnel walls and their blood drained from them. Together with her FBI partner Roger Morrow, Kelly needs to decipher the meaning behind what appear to be ritualistic killings before another murder takes place.
Gagnon has created an intelligent, confident character in Kelly Jones who grows more complex and, not coincidentally, more interesting as the story progresses. The members of her investigative team are also well drawn, particularly the character of Jake Riley who works for the father of one of the dead girls. Kelly and Jake clearly have the potential for a romantic relationship in the future, but fortunately Gagnon doesn't complicate her book by introducing one here.
Where The Tunnels tends to fail is in the development of the plot. Almost by definition, serial killers have a sense of purpose and are methodical in their choice of victim, yet it's rather disappointing to discover that neither is especially true in this case. The identity of the murderer is fairly obvious early, but the reasoning behind the crimes when revealed at the end seems particularly strained. And Gagnon should have come up with a better way for Kelly to solve the crimes than to put her in a "you're going to kill me anyway so you might as well tell me everything" scenario; she's smarter than that and deserves a better ending.
A relatively weak plot aside, readers are likely to embrace Kelly Jones in The Tunnels and look forward to her next case.
Acknowledgment: Michelle Gagnon provided an ARC of The Tunnels for this review.
Review Copyright © 2007 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Mira Books (Mass Market Paperback), August 2008
ISBN-13: 9780778325390; ISBN-10: 0778325393
Location(s) referenced in The Tunnels: New England
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The Tunnels by Michelle Gagnon — A Kelly Jones Mystery
Publisher: Mira Books
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Publication Date: June 2007
List Price: $6.99