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Obsessed crime reporter Molly Cates (Zero at the Bone, St. Martin's, 1991) scrambles to put the finishing touches on her coverage of a Texas serial murderer about to be executed. Just as she contacts a prominent Austin family victimized by the killer, however, murder strikes down the second wife in exactly the same way as it did the first. Horrified, Molly leans on the detective in charge (one of her ex-husbands, if not exactly a best friend), who advises her to leave well enough alone. A very well-written and plausibly plotted second effort, much deserving of purchase. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Molly Cates is a good ol' Texas gal who has spent the last 11 years of her career as a journalist obsessed with down-and-out serial killer Louie Bronk. From the first time Molly heard about Louie--after he'd confessed to killing beautiful socialite Tiny McFarland and a dozen other Texas women--she'd wanted to write his story. Her book, Sweating Blood, has just been pub~lished, and Louie, after 11 years on Death Row, is about to be executed. But in his remaining hours, Louie screams the "red scream" and proclaims his innocence. Hooked yet again by Louie's odd forcefulness, Molly reinvestigates the years-old story and finds herself caught in a series of bizarre events that end in a stunningly unexpected climax. Walker is a masterly writer, weaving horror, humor, and suspense into a story that is gripping and provocative. Molly Cates is full of vinegar, a wonderfully appealing heroine with a lot of guts, a fine sense of humor, a more than passing acquaintance with life's ironies, and enough of her own dark secrets to make her both vulnerable and humane. Two thumbs up--way up!--for this outstanding book. ~--Emily Melton
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Walker's second well-wrought mystery, following her Agatha-winning Zero at the Bone , will add to her following. Molly Cates, a crime writer in Austin, Tex., is planning to cover the execution of doggerel-writing serial murderer Louie Bronk, whose five-year killing spree is the subject of Molly's recently published book. But Charlie McFarland, whose wealthy wife, Tiny, was Louie's last victim and who has since remarried, wants the past left buried, suggesting fresh publicity will threaten the stability of his grown daughter, who was 11 at the time of her mother's murder. Next, an anonymous note to Molly warns, in verse, ``Now that Louie's doomed to die / I may give his craft a try.'' Arriving at the McFarland house for a meeting, Molly stumbles on the corpse of Charlie's second wife, Georgia. The police--including Molly's attractive and still interested ex-husband, Grady Traynor--are eying Charlie and his grown children with suspicion when Louie issues an explosive statement that raises questions about Tiny's death and compels Molly to take a hard look at the investigative work she has done. The finale, in which Molly is almost killed, is somewhat gratuitous, but that aside, Molly and her disturbing subject command the reader's rapt attention. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved