Paradox - Catherine Coulter

Review :

Granted, I'm semi-retired - but finish a nearly 450-word book in two days Certainly not a normal happenin' thing, but finish it I did. Yes, the story is engrossing and I love FBI agents Sherlock and Savich (this is the 22nd installment in the series). But I'll also credit the author's uncanny way of ending each chapter at such a tantalizing point that it's almost impossible to resist the "just one more" temptation. So strong is that pull, in fact, that at one point I realized I'd read eight chapters beyond the point at which I really, really needed to turn off my Kindle and do something else.

Also curious, BTW, is that almost all the female characters have what at first blush I'd assume are "male" names, among them Ty, Morgan, Marty and Gunny. Happenstance, or intention And if the latter, why Inquiring minds would love to know. But I digress.

The married agents have a young son named Sean, of whom, some would say, they're overprotective. That proves to be warranted, though, when in the middle of the night Savich is awakened by warning beeps - and runs to her son's room to find an intruder standing over the child's bed. The man, who was wielding a knife, manages to escape - but the incident forces Savich and Sherlock to acknowledge that their family is on the hit list of a very nasty person.

Around the same time, Willicot, Maryland, police chief Ty Christie is relaxing at her cottage on Lake Massey when to what do her wondering eyes doth appear than a frightening scene: One of two people out in a boat smacks the other and dumps the body overboard, an apparent murder. When said body is found by divers, it turns out to be a female federal prosecutor who's been dating Salo Porto, an FBI agent-friend of Savich, who in turn is called in to help.

But divers find not only that freshly killed body, but a rather large array of old bones and a unique belt buckle - raising suspicions of a serial killer. Most of the bones were collected not far from an abandoned mansion in which two entire families were murdered; since then, the property has been deemed "haunted" and has stood empty. When Savich and Sherlock go inside, they find nothing noteworthy except a single very tidy bedroom amid an otherwise decaying house. That is, until Savich has one of his "visions," leading him to the upper level and the discovery of his old friend Porto, who's been locked in a closet and left to die.

Turns out the killer is a relatively young man who recently escaped from a mental institution - a man with ties not only to the woman he just killed but to Savich, who was forced to kill the man's young girlfriend back when he was arrested. Evidence leads to the certainty that he was the man who attempted to kidnap (or perhaps murder) Savich and Sherlock's son.

But strong suspicion isn't proof (nor are Savich's visions), so the chase is on to gather evidence and track down the killer. The investigation efforts get a big boost from Christie and Palo, who join forces and become major characters in the rest of the book. Even though the killer is known, though, there's plenty of action and even more head games to carry the story through to the end (with a little left over for another book). In short, it's another winner - and once again I thank the publisher, via NetGalley, for providing me with an advance review copy.

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