Michael Baden & Linda Kenney Baden
Knopf, 2009 (2009)
Read an Excerpt
Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth
he husband and wife writing team of Michael and Linda Kenney Baden has a hit on their hands with their second mystery novel,
. Michael is one of America's leading forensic experts and the host of
, the popular HBO documentary series. Linda is a trial attorney; along with winning in the courtroom dozens of times, she has appeared as a guest legal commentator on numerous television programs.
hile their protagonists (pathologist Dr. Jake Rosen and lovely litigator Manny Manfreda) are fictional, it is easy to see in the Badens' writing that their dialogue comes from years of interaction and ease with each other. Jake is in love with Manny, but she and her dog Mycroft are not quite ready to dedicate themselves to a committed relationship. However it could work out some day.
omeone, nicknamed the
by the Manhattan press corps, has been attacking victims and drawing a syringe of blood. Why? As yet, no one knows. When this escalates to vicious torture and murder, Manny and Jake both become involved, though on different levels. Jake is deputy chief medical examiner while Manny, a top litigator, is also a shoe groupie. Her very dependable assistant is a cross dresser and it is no surprise to find him in a full length gown at his desk. But reliability is the key here.
he novel, while fiction, does delve into the period of time when many citizens of Argentina were
and never seen again. The United States' part in this is not just suspect but on record.
can't go any further as I don't want to spoil a tightly written and highly suspenseful plot. The Badens breathe life into characters who shine, each in their own way. The reactions they all have to a rotten situation feels true to life. Though this couple could be compared to other duos in the mystery genre, Mother always said
comparisons are odious
and she was right. Manny and Jake stand under a bright light all by themselves.
is a great episode in a great series.
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