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The Perfect Suspect (Catherine McLeod Mysteries, No. 2) Hardcover – September 6, 2011

4.2 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews
Book 2 of 2 in the Catherine McLeod Series

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Hardcover, September 6, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

A politician is murdered. A witness recognizes the killer and anonymously contacts journalist Catherine McLeod (who was introduced in 2008’s Blood Memory). Catherine has a difficult road ahead of her, because she has no idea who the witness is, and the killer appears to be the detective in charge of the murder investigation. (That wasn’t a spoiler: the author divulges the identity of the murderer in the opening pages.) The story’s structure will be familiar to Columbo fans, with Catherine standing in for the raincoat-wearing detective: the reader watches her try to solve the crime, while at the same time observing the murderer do her damnedest not to get caught. The story has a goodly amount of twists and turns, but it’s the characters who hold our interest: the determined investigator and the smart but increasingly desperate killer. A clever cat-and-mouse game. --David Pitt


The Perfect Suspect will have readers on edge wondering what’s around the next corner.”—New York Journal of Books

“A tale rife with deception…The tension and pacing of the story keep the pages turning.”—The Denver Post

The Perfect Suspect is Margaret Coel’s finest effort to date.”—Gumshoe Review 

“A fine, fun read and a welcome signal that Catherine is here to stay.”—Daily Camera 



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Product Details

  • Series: Catherine McLeod Mysteries (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; 1 edition (September 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425243486
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425243480
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #400,032 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Shroud Magazine's Book Reviews VINE VOICE on October 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Margaret Coel explores the corruption of love and politics in her taut thriller, The Perfect Suspect published by Berkley's Prime Crime imprint.

Catherine McLeod is the central character, an investigative news reporter who finds herself thrust into the events of a recent homicide, the murder of a venerated politician on the fast-track to the White House. Catherine McLeod must choose between advancing the truth as she uncovers new evidence that can change the course of the investigation, or allowing a scapegoat to take the fall for the true killer by doing nothing at all.

Margaret Coel quickly advances the action; from the first pages we are thrust into the mind of a conflicted killer caught between love and betrayal as she shoots David Mathews, the sophisticated politician expected to take the governor's seat in the state of Colorado. Coel creates a portrait of corruption both internal and external - love spoiled and tainted, the flawless politician whose spotless image is thin cover for his adulterous affairs, and the killer herself, Detective Ryan Beckman, put in charge of the homicide investigation when her job is to protect and to serve. Catherine McLeod is one of the few characters who holds firm against this moral decay. She insists upon pursuing evidence on the strength of an anonymous phone call that implicates Detective Ryan Beckman as the killer.

The action unfolds as the murder expands into a spiral of circumstances - Beckman uses all the resources of her occupation she can muster to silence potential witnesses, while McLeod proves equally tenacious, unable to stand by and watch as Sydney Mathews, David's wife, takes the heat of the investigation and is charged with murder.
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Format: Hardcover
Margaret Coel is well known for her Wind River mystery series (now numbering 15 titles), which take place on the real Wind River Reservation in central Wyoming, and feature sleuths Vicky Holden and Father John O'Malley.

The Perfect Suspect, however, is part of a completely different series featuring journalist Catherine McLeod, which takes place in Denver.

The story begins with Denver police detective Ryan Beckman facing off with her lover, David Mathews. They've been having an affair, we learn, which David has broken off. Ryan has gone to his home to ask him to reconsider. He refuses, and Ryan shoots him.

We learn this in the first sentence of the book, so this is not a plot spoiler.

What Beckman doesn't realize until she's leaving Mathews' house is that she's been seen, though she doesn't know by whom. Meanwhile, Catherine McLeod gets an anonymous phone call at the newspaper office naming the detective as the killer.

Knowing the identity of the killer at the beginning of the book doesn't make this book any less suspenseful or enjoyable. The plot becomes an elaborate game of cat-and-mouse between journalist and detective.

Of course, since it's a Catherine McLeod mystery, we must assume that Catherine wins the game. But we don't know for sure until the end of the book if Catherine succeeds in proving that Beckman is the killer. Nor do we know whether or not Beckman gets away with her crime.

This gripping mystery keeps the reader guessing all the way through, and the answer is not revealed until the very end. Catherine is a wonderful character, and it's to be hoped that there will be more books about her!
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Format: Hardcover
The plot was predictable, the characters were grim and flat, and there was no redemption in this tale. Where's the Margaret Coel I used to enjoy reading? OK, maybe she's tired of writing about a priest and an Arapaho lawyer, but this had no depth. I kept hoping for a three-legged dog or anything else to lighten it up even just a little.

The most disappointing aspect was watching the characters blunder into a figurative train wreck, but be so oblivious that they didn't catch themselves. Why assume that a witness will survive the night, when his life is clearly in danger? Why plan to meet him the next day? That required abject density on the part of Catherine McLeod, but plodded along anyway.
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Format: Hardcover
David Mathews is a candidate running for Governor in Colorado. Journalist Catherine McLeod has been covering his campaign for some time. There are rumors of Mathews infidelities and shady business deals, but nothing has been proven. He and his wife seem to be the perfect couple.

One night Mathews is home alone and opens his front door to find his ex mistress Detective Ryan Beckman there. She insists on coming into his home and tries to convince Mathews the two can work things out.
When he asks her to leave, she shoots him dead. As Ryan leaves the crime scene, another one of Mathews mistresses sees her from outside the house. An eye witness.

Journalist Catherine McLeod is sent to the crime scene the next day to get the scoop. Ironically enough, Detective Ryan Beckman is assigned to the case along with her partner, Martinez.
At this point, Mathews wife is the prime suspect, the murder weapon is even found at her home, planted there by none other than Ryan.

Catherine receives an anonymous phone call from the eye witness/mistress, saying that she saw Detective Ryan Beckman flee the crime scene. She won't give her name or identity, being that she thinks she'll be ridiculed and possibly hauled in for questioning, since she is a private escort. Catherine has a gut feeling that this person is telling the truth and does all she can to prove who the real killer is.

My thoughts:
The Perfect Suspect grabbed me in from the first line and didn't let me go until the final page. I read this book in one sitting and was really swept into the storyline.

I liked to see that Catherine and Nick (Blood Memory) are together and that she is moving on with her life after what happened in book 1.
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