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The Deepest Cut    by Dianne Emley Amazon.com order for
Deepest Cut
by Dianne Emley
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

In The Deepest Cut, the third of a blockbuster trilogy, Pasadena Detective Nan Vining finally faces down her brutal attacker. Vining investigates a gang murder of a low level snitch. In doing so, she finds clues to link this murder to her own brutal attack two years earlier.

Nan is a bit of a maverick and prefers to carry out investigations in her own manner. She not only wants to find this man dubbed T.B. Mann, The Bad Man, by both Nan and her fourteen-year-old daughter Emily she wants to be the one to eliminate him. That's the only way she can lay her ghosts. The man in Nan's life seems very forbearing of her actions, even when some of them are illegal.

One clue leads to another and Nan checks into previous killings to see if T.B. Mann is indeed a serial killer. She deals not only with this but with the gang wars that are plaguing California. African-American, Hispanic and Asian gangs all vie for control of the streets and, of course, the drug trafficking. When Emily seems smitten with a young Asian man, Nan is understandably upset.

The Deepest Cut is a thriller that will keep you reading far into the night. Even though action moves like wildfire through its pages, be careful to enjoy the beautiful phrasing in which Dianne Emley depicts Nan's surroundings. This does not detract from the pace of the story, simply makes the locale more vibrant and alive, which in turn adds to the plot. The characterizations are well fleshed out, with good insight into body movements and facial expressions. In describing them so well, Emley brings her players to life.

The Deepest Cut exemplifies all that gives thrillers their own genre. I recommend it as a good and exciting read, not to be missed.

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