Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Review of "The Last Dead Girl" by Harry Dolan




David Malone - a house inspector in Rome, New York - is engaged to a young doctor when he makes the chance acquaintance of law student Jana Fletcher. Malone falls hard for Jana and spends the next 10 days with her - until she's brutally murdered. Malone is an early  suspect but attention soon shifts elsewhere and Malone begins his own investigation. He discovers that Jana was working with a law professor on an "innocence project", trying to prove that Gary Pruett, a convicted high school teacher, didn't kill his wife.

During Malone's investigation he finds that a police detective may have suborned perjury to help convict Pruett. Moreover, other people in Jana's orbit have been attacked or murdered, including a woman living on Jana's street and the jailhouse snitch who testified against Pruett. Pruett himself claims that a couple of former students - one dead and one missing - killed his wife.

As the story moves along we learn that several people in the area, including Jana, have been harboring shocking secrets that explain the local "crime spree." To say more would spoil the surprises that Dolan packs into the story. This book's intricate structure and startling twists puts it a step above the usual mystery novel. Highly recommended.

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