Review: A man's life takes an unexpected and dangerous detour from his relatively ordinary existence when he begins to see the word "modified" appear in random places around his office and home in Killer Move, a novel of suspense by Michael Marshall.
Bill Moore is a real estate agent, whose primary business involves the selling and reselling of condominiums in a luxury complex on Longboat Key, Florida. Determined to make a name for himself, not to mention more money, he agrees to meet with the owner of a multi-million dollar estate on the island, who is interested in selling his property. But the owner, David Warner, fails to keep his meeting. Indeed, he seems to have gone missing, and the police see Bill as a potential person of interest in his disappearance. But Bill is having his own personal problems: risquι e-mail messages purportedly sent from his computer and voyeuristic pictures supposedly taken by him have surfaced, neither of which he knows anything about, each accompanied by the word "modified". He thinks someone is playing an elaborate practical joke on him, but his wife doesn't see the humor in it. And neither does he, especially when she lands in the hospital after consuming a bottle of wine he had purchased as a gift for his boss
and he wakes up one morning in an apartment spattered with blood of a woman who took an interest in his troubles, the word "modified" written in blood on a door.
Separate from Bill Moore's storyline is one involving an initially unnamed man, but who is later known to be John Hunter. Recently released from prison, he is the reason why David Warner has gone missing: he has kidnapped him in an effort to learn the current whereabouts of others that he blames for putting him in prison in the first place. It is this second storyline that is particularly weak in places for example, everyone he's looking for are prominent citizens, who could easily be found with an internet search, so what's the point of taking Warner? especially in comparison to the intellectually interesting, if very slowly drawn out, scenario set out for Bill Moore. Not unexpectedly, Hunter's world and that of Bill come together about two thirds of the way through, but what follows at this point is so sensational and lurid and really unnecessarily so that it ends up debasing much of the thoughtfully developed narrative that preceded it. Killer Move concludes on an ambiguous note, with a handful of plot points left open and unresolved, another disappointment for a novel that had so much early promise as a really well-crafted thriller.
Acknowledgment: HarperCollins provided a copy of Killer Move for this review.
Review Copyright © 2011 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Killer Move: Florida
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Killer Move by Michael Marshall
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: June 2011
List Price: $24.99