Nick Morrelli is the Platte City, Nebraska, sheriff who must be smarter than he appears, since there's a framed Harvard law degree hanging on his wall. Not that appearances don't count. The reader is treated to a number of descriptions of his sexy, lady-killer looks and his charismatic effect on even the most hard-bitten woman character in this somewhat muddled, serial-killer thriller. Nick is investigating the kidnap-murders of two young Platte City boys when FBI profiler Maggie O'Dell shows up and all but takes over the investigation. Several years earlier, the former sheriff--Nick's father--capped his own career with the arrest of the last serial killer in the neighborhood, who abducted and tortured three boys in an eerily similar crime spree. When Antonio Morrelli returns from retirement to meddle in the investigation, and when Nick's own sister uses her connections to advance his career, Nick hardly raises an objection. And that's the central weakness of what would otherwise be a good, first effort. --Jane Adams
From Publishers Weekly
A serial killer eludes an FBI profiler and a smalltown Nebraska sheriff in Kava's engaging debut, which manages to remain entertaining despite a fairly conventional plot line. As the story opens, recently appointed Sheriff Nick Morelli is as relieved as the rest of the citizens of Platte City that his predecessor, who also happens to be his father, has captured the child killer who plagued the town. But after the killer is executed, another child is discovered dead, and Morelli realizes that the convicted man was in fact a copycat killer, leaving the original criminal still on the prowl. Morelli gets some much-needed help in the investigation from FBI profiler Maggie O'Dell, but the hunt gets complicated when Morelli's sister, a journalist, leaks info to the media. Things become even stickier when O'Dell unearths a couple of unlikely suspects who've been dismissed by the police, and the search takes on a new level of urgency when Morelli's nephew is abducted and appears to be the next victim. Kava keeps her prose simple, but she does a nice job of setting up the chemistry between O'Dell and Morelli while balancing the various family issues Morelli faces in the investigation. She also makes good use of the smalltown milieu, tightening the tension by establishing that the killer is part of the fabric of the community. The result is a well-crafted page-turner involving the reader in the specter of murder in an intimate and disturbing fashion, with a plausible setup for a sequel. Agent, Philip Spitzer.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.