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Third Degree    by Greg Iles order for
Third Degree
by Greg Iles
Order:  USA  Can
Scribner, 2007 (2007)
* * *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

When the stunning new thriller Third Degree opens, Laurel and Warren Shields are enjoying what nearly everyone who knows them would assume is the perfect American dream.

He is a successful and increasingly prosperous physician. She is a highly respected special education teacher. Together they have two beautiful children, and they all live in an upscale neighborhood in Athens Point, Mississippi. Their apparently blissful marriage is the envy of almost everyone.

Appearances, though, can be deceiving. After all, a husband's and wife's happily-ever-after lifestyle cannot survive very well when it is threatened by deceit and secrecy, and Laurel in particular has been hiding something (and she has recently discovered something more urgent) that could - if revealed - destroy the couple's marriage.

Warren - a complicated man with a few secrets of his own - finds damning evidence of Laurel's duplicity and confronts her, and so begins the most terrifying day in the history of the couple's marriage.

As the problems escalate to the boiling point in Laurel's and Warren's home, two other people - Warren's medical practice partner, Dr. Kyle Auster, and Danny McDavitt, the father of one of Laurel's autistic students - are poised to become prominent players in the violent drama that is unfolding. Auster, sharing in one of Warren's secrets, and McDavitt, a person all too familiar with Laurel's deception, will both - in very short order - find themselves drawn into the dangerous firestorm that threatens to blaze out of control within the Shields' home, a shocking domestic disturbance which will also involve high-powered law enforcement officials.

As a harrowing portrayal of love, anger, and violence on a collision course, Third Degree is another highly-recommended, top-notch thriller from Greg Iles, an extraordinarily skilled author whose prestige and reputation justifiably continues to grow with each new terrifying novel.

With compelling characterizations, gut-wrenching tension, and terrifying violence, Third Degree intensifies with each chapter and immerses readers in a provocative, breathtaking tale of survival in the midst of rapidly escalating marital bedlam. You do not want to miss this one!

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