Review: FBI Agent Sam Markham, newly transferred to headquarters, finds himself back in the field investigating a series of gruesome murders in The Impaler, the second mystery in this series by Gregory Funaro.
Three men have been found in rural areas outside Raleigh, North Carolina, each impaled on a heavy stake, their heads oddly positioned and fixed in place. There is no obvious connection between the victims, but on the body of one, among what appear to be random markings, the words "I have returned" are ominously written, repeatedly, in six ancient scripts. Markham recognizes the markings as a clue, but even after he and his colleagues believe they have it figured out, it still isn't clear why these men were chosen to die … or how it helps them identify the killer.
Readers need to be patient with The Impaler; it is an exceptionally detailed, well-thought out intellectual thriller that demands close attention; fast-reading it is not. It's hard not to recognize and appreciate the extensive research conducted by the author that forms the foundation for the story. One can visualize a large whiteboard with an vast outline of how the various plot points intersect and are linked. And yet it all seems a little sterile, clearly not unimaginative, but detached, unemotional. Part of this may be intentional, however. The serial killer, who has his own point-of-view, is methodical in his methods, so a similar approach to the narrative is probably not unexpected. Still, though it is a creative and in many ways clever thriller, and there are plenty of shocking, even horrific scenes, it seems to be missing something to make it exciting or, for lack of a better word, thrilling.
Acknowledgment: Kensington Publishing Group provided a copy of The Impaler for this review.
Review Copyright © 2011 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in The Impaler: Raleigh, North Carolina
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The Impaler by Gregory Funaro — A Sam Markham Mystery
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Publication Date: February 2011
List Price: $7.99
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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