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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Resort to Murder by Glenys O'Connell

Resort to Murder by Glenys O'Connell
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full (230 pages)
Heat: Sensual
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Edelweiss

Falsely disgraced police detective Ellie Fitzpatrick is prepared to face a vicious killer to redeem herself but is she also brave enough to make peace with the man she loves? When her meteoric career crashed and burned after she was accused of accepting bribes from thugs running a protection racket, Ellie is suspended from the job she loves and believes herself abandoned not only by police colleagues but by her lover, Detective Liam O'Reilly. She is called back to work when a biography of a serial killer she arrested suggests the man may be innocent. Reilly vows to protect Ellie from the gang who tried to frame her and the vicious killer who's stalking her. Can she trust him with her life?

In Resort to Murder, Glenys O’Connell has written a romantic suspense of exceptional pace and plot intensity. We enter a complex story setting in which Ellie is an police inspector (in England) who is reinstated after a six month suspension for suspected bribery. The bribery issue is one of two separate mysteries, the other being a serial murder case which increasingly has Ellie as its focus. Reilly, a former lover, is the superintendent who got the promotion that would have been Ellie’s had the bribery scandal not derailed her career and everything else in her life, including her relationship with Reilly. Her former paramour, previously a subordinate, is now her boss. The scene is set for complex emotional chemistry.

What sets this book apart is the complexity of the story and the exhilarating rate of plot developments. Since the setting and timeframe are both quite compact, the sensation is a read that churns with excitement and possibilities, so much so that it can be pleasantly disorienting to keep up with things. This sense of plot velocity is magnified by the characters, many of whom carry secrets and are not what they first appear. The success is all the more stunning because it occurs despite how it is written. O’Connell’s prose is serviceable enough, smooth flowing in most instances--and there are bright spots of artistically penned metaphors--but a penchant for complex sentences occasionally goes awry and slows the reader down. Another issue, oddly enough, is inconsistent comma use, which in a story this fast moving, makes a negative difference.

O’Connell pulls off a fine balancing act with the main characters. The Ellie/Reilly tandem is not quite logical in its operation. These two are constantly melting for each other in their private (and frequent) longings, but they consistently make decisions that antagonize the relationship. In less capable hands, this would be annoying. But this author manages to skillfully blend this self inflicted conflict into the rollercoaster whorl of plot progression.

This story accelerates toward an exciting conclusion, and the author does well in maintaining suspense to the very end. Resort to Murder is a read of sustained excitement, one that tantalizes with first rate suspense, and it satisfies with its climactic, nail biting finish.