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The Little Death

A Louis Kincaid Mystery by P. J. Parrish

The Little Death by P. J. Parrish

Review: Private investigator Louis Kincaid and his partner, ex-Miami police detective Mel Landeta, travel from the west coast of Florida to Palm Beach to assist in the defense of a young man accused of murdering his roommate in The Little Death, the 10th mystery in this series by P. J. Parrish.

Mark Durand's headless body was found in an isolated area just south of Lake Okeechobee. His roommate, Reggie Kent, is arrested for the crime. Reggie remembers Mel as someone who assisted him when he was in trouble years ago, and calls him now for help. Reggie is, as was Mark, a "walker", a good-looking young man who accompanies single (but not necessarily unmarried), wealthy women to high profile events. Reggie insists that sex is not part of the deal, but apparently Mark was more involved than Reggie thought. Louis and Mel start to believe a jealous husband may be the culprit, but then they learn of another headless body, also of an attractive young man who worked in Palm Beach, found five years earlier in a similar location. Then a third body turns up. The Palm Beach County police are reluctant to expand their investigation, believing Reggie guilty, so Louis and Mel proceed to build a case for them. But with potential witnesses unwilling to talk, Palm Beach being a small, insulated community, their efforts are proving to be difficult indeed.

The Little Death is a nuanced thriller with many layers, but also a somewhat uneven one. About midway through it makes an abrupt transition from a stylish whodunit-style murder mystery to a relatively routine, albeit intense, police procedural. Told mostly from the point of view of Louis Kincaid, the story moves along swiftly; even though the book exceeds 400 pages, it doesn't feel that long. The ending may disappoint some as the motivation for the crimes seems rather arbitrary and incompletely related; maybe that was intentional on the part of the author(s), to make them even more shocking, as if chopping off the young men's heads wasn't already. Still, The Little Death is a page-turner, with an open-ended conclusion that will have readers anticipating the next entry in the series. (Note to the author(s): bring back Andrew Swann; he may be deserving of a series all on his own.)

Acknowledgment: P. J. Parrish provided an ARC of The Little Death for this review.

Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author

Mystery Book Review: The Killing Song by P. J. ParrishThe Killing Song
Pocket Books (Mass Market Paperback), August 2011
ISBN-13: 9781439189368; ISBN-10: 1439189366

Location(s) referenced in The Little Death: Palm Beach, Florida

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The Little Death by P. J. Parrish

The Little Death by A Louis Kincaid Mystery

Publisher: Pocket Books
Format: Mass Market Paperback
ISBN-13: 978-1-4165-2589-9
Publication Date:
List Price: $7.99

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