A Jessica Blackwood Mystery by Andrew Mayne
Review: Former professional magician, now a Special Agent with the FBI, Jessica Blackwood's expertise is called upon when the body of a young woman killed two years earlier is found — dead again, only this time within the past 24 hours — literally crawling from her grave, in Angel Killer, the first mystery in this series by Andrew Mayne.
Jessica's fellow agents are baffled by the scene in a Michigan cemetery, but she realizes it is a trick, albeit a very good one. Just as the coroner is about to remove the body, Jessica stops her: she knows that for the illusion to be complete, whoever staged it can't allow for the body to be examined, and sure enough it explodes in a shower of sparks. Was the perpetrator also the same man, who killed the young woman two years earlier? Could this have been a crime planned years ago and simple concluded now? Jessica gets her answer when an Air Force plane downed in World War II suddenly resurfaces on a sand bar off the coast of Florida, complete with its pilot, who looks like he's been dead for only a couple of days. A methodical and meticulous serial killer is at work and it is up to Jessica to stop him.
Angel Killer is an innovative, incredibly exciting mystery for much of its length. The crimes are elaborate magic tricks — a third one is staged in the middle of Time Square in New York City — and are exceptionally well designed and executed. But when Jessica (inevitably) becomes a potential victim herself, it gets a little routine. True, the killer doesn't actually target her specifically, which itself is rather clever in how the story makes this happen, but much of the excitement of the chase, and anticipation of the showdown between Jessica and the killer, is lost at this point. And then there's Damian Knight, one of the more unusual characters in crime fiction, Jessica's former lover and now her secretive protector, who pops in at the most convenient points in the story. His presence, and the things he can do, seem almost supernatural, but then again, that fits in with the overall theme of the book. Still, it's hard to know what to make of him. Overall, however, this is an exceptionally fine suspense novel and if the author, a magician himself, can keep his highly creative criminal illusions coming, this will definitely be a series worth following.
Acknowledgment: Bourbon Street Books provided a copy of Angel Killer for this review.
Review Copyright © 2014 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Angel Killer: Michigan; Florida; New York City; Texas
— ♦ —
Angel Killer by Andrew Mayne — A Jessica Blackwood Mystery
Publisher: Bourbon Street Books
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: September 2014
List Price: $14.99
— ♦ —
Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
Mysterious Reviews is a Division of
The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books
and a Business Unit of the
Omnimystery Family of Mystery Websites