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The Screaming Room

A John Driscoll Mystery by Thomas O'Callaghan

The Screaming Room by Thomas O'Callaghan

Review: The Screaming Room is Thomas O'Callaghan's second mystery to feature NYPD homicide detective John Driscoll.

A serial killer seems to be indiscriminately murdering men and women, scalping them, and artfully arranging the bodies in and around New York City. The victims' only connection to each other seems to be they were all tourists, visitors to the city. NYPD homicide detective John Driscoll, assigned to the case, doggedly pursues what few clues they have but gets drawn into a political battle when one of the victims turns out to be the daughter of a powerful west coast family who not only want justice but revenge.

The Screaming Room is, for the most part, a police procedural since the killer (actually, killers, a pair of rare genetically identical male and female twins) is identified in the opening chapters of the book. Driscoll employs his resources effectively, quickly determining that there are two killers, twins in their mid-teens, who are independently but in concert killing people in and around the city that they met over the internet. Following him track them down is, in and of itself, rather interesting.

The primary problem here is that though the pacing of the narrative is rapid, the writing is uninspired, failing to generate any genuine suspense. There are more than a few instances where the plot strains credulity. In addition, the novelty of the twins' situation and how they relate to each other quickly wears thin. While the twins' motivation for the murders is predictable and their choice of who to kill is somewhat surprising, there is ultimately no sympathy for either the twins or their victims (other than the obvious fact that they were murdered). The subplot involving the wealthy father of one of the victims, no doubt intended to add an element of conflict and apprehension, completely falls flat.

Driscoll and his team, especially the resourceful Cedric Thomlinson and the enigmatic Margaret Aligante, make for a compelling investigative unit; they deserve a better story than the one in The Screaming Room.

Acknowledgment: FSB Associates provided a copy of The Screaming Room for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

Location(s) referenced in The Screaming Room: New York City

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The Screaming Room by Thomas O'Callaghan

The Screaming Room by A John Driscoll Mystery

Publisher: Pinnacle
Format: Mass Market Paperback
ISBN-13: 978-0-7860-1812-3
Publication Date:
List Price: $6.99

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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews

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