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The Burning Man (Morgan James Fiction) Paperback – September 15, 2015
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"Grab the extinguisher, she's on fiyah with her debut murder mystery"-- Creative Loafing Tampa Bay
"The Burning Man" is a psychological thriller, set in Orange County California, that pits a demented serial killer with an unusual m.o. against FBI Forensic pathologist, Catherine (“Cat”) Powers. Will she be able to save herself and her family from his twisted designs to drawn her into his web of death?
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Top Customer Reviews
Solange Ritchie has written an excellent first novel. The story line and plot are definitely a 4-star quality novel, but some writing inconsistencies and styles downgraded the novel in my humble opinion. To be fair, I honestly believe that some of the writing styles that were a distraction were purposely done. Also, in some scenes this style of writing definitely added to the chaos and disorder of the situation. Sometimes, I was left wondering if the writing was done on purpose or if there was a mistake made.
However, leaving that behind, Solange has written an excellent serial killer novel that is much like the Kay Scarpetta novels by Patricia Cornwell. Only "The Burning Man" moves along at a lightening-fast pace compared to the Scarpetta novels. "The Burning Man" is quite a bit more of a psychological thriller that hangs the reader on the pages in considerable suspense.
A serial killer is on the loose killing women in a morbid fashion in Irvine and Orange County California. Dr. Catherine "Cat" Powers, FBI agent forensic pathologist, is called in to help solve the case. Cat, to everyone that knows her, takes her cases on 100% head-strong which causes her conflict being a single mother. She is torn between being a good mother and the career that she so loves and has gained her such a high reputation. The serial killer is escalating and losing control and he must be caught quickly. So, Cat does as she has always done - she devotes everything into solving the case.
I am glad that Solange allowed me to read her book. I only wish that I could write a novel this good. I think that readers of the psychological suspense/thrillers would enjoy this book. The writing style is the only reason I did not give this book a 4-star rating. I just could not see it fair to Solange, potential future readers, and authors whose books that I have reviewed in the past.
Thirty-eight year old Dr. Catherine (Cat) Powers, the FBI's brilliant and chief forensic pathologist out of Quantico, Virginia, who has been trained not only in forensic medicine but also in the field of behavioral sciences, is
assigned as the top investigator of the Burning Man case as it is now called. Cases of this nature are not new to Catherine who acknowledges that the business she is involved in is one embroiled in blood and bodies reflecting the terrors that exist in the world that we cannot comprehend. Nonetheless, Catherine is quite confident that her knowledge of the art of profiling and understanding the nature of the beast coupled with her instinctual approach will outwit this mad serial killer.
Relentlessly and with the help of a host of intriguing characters Catherine pursues this mindless, satanic creature whom she realizes will continue to kill until he himself is killed. Using her vast amount of knowledge in behavorial science she begins to piece together a picture of the murders from the perspective of the killer. She analyzes his possible physical traits, sexual preferences, habits, and personality hoping that a correlative match would arise that would give her that one break she badly needs. In addition, Catherine also splits up the components of pre-and post-offensive behavior where it is ascertained that the majority of the mutilation is before death. The killer enjoys watching them cry out while they are alive as his motive is to inflict pain.
Obsessed with the case, Catherine's personal life suffers particularly that she is divorced with a six-year old son who hardly sees his mom. It was also this obsession for justice that cost her husband and her their marriage or as her husband succinctly states, “it had killed the young, naive girl he had fallen in love with, and in her place had put a woman so driven to find truth that she destroyed and alienated everything dear to her in life.”
I applaud Ritchie for crafting a fluid, snaky thriller of great momentum that drives the boundaries of noir almost to the edge of darkness. And quite impressive is her strong, controlled writing replete with concrete images that no doubt may not be for readers who have a squeamish disposition. Nonetheless, you have to admit that there is something to say about the macabre fascination with serial killers that some of us have which is similar to the same reason that we will stop our cars to stare at an horrendous automobile accident along the highway. In the end we have a one-sitting darkly seductive tale that captivates and surprises all the way to its chilling conclusion.
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