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The Fault Tree    by Louise Ure order for
Fault Tree
by Louise Ure
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2008 (2008)
* *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

Riveting and original, The Fault Tree - author Louise Ure's second novel - features Tucson native Cadence 'Stick' Moran. Blinded eight years earlier in an automobile accident (in which her cousin's three year old daughter perished), Cadence has been working as an expert mechanic at Walt's Auto Shop for the past six years.

One evening, after she had been working late at the shop, Cadence is walking the several blocks to her home when she has another life-changing experience: First she hears a cry of distress from some house down the block; next she hears an engine idling behind her though the car isn't moving; those sounds are followed by the noise of footsteps running, two car doors slamming, and high-pitched laughter; then Cadence hears the screech of spinning tires as the engine revs to a banshee scream and the car races toward her. Nearly struck down by the car, Cadence is thrown to the curb, and her long terrifying nightmare begins.

A seventy-six year old woman has just been murdered and a slightly injured Cadence, much to the chagrin of the local police, has become the sole eye-witness to a neighbor's murder. And so it is that Cadence becomes a reluctant witness in a case wherein the police find themselves 'following a hundred bad leads in the hope of finding one good one.' But Cadence is soon involved in a second incident in which she has clearly been targeted by a cold-blooded hit-and-run driver. She admits in the aftermath, 'I was in a killer's sights and his aim was getting better.' Actually, Candace does not know it yet, but the killers (multiple, persistent, and desperate) have only just begun to finish their terrible job.

As a top-notch mystery (in which the dangers steadily escalate and the crimes and murders accumulate), and as a finely crafted character study (in which people - good and bad - are confronted by profound lessons about blame and loss), The Fault Tree is a superb, high-flying adventure pitting a wonderfully spirited and uniquely gifted protagonist against desperate criminals whose volatile, out of control lives are driven by love, hate, and a murderous indifference to the sanctity of human life.

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