Putnam, 2007 (2007)
Read an Excerpt
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
athy Mallory - on unofficial and unauthorized leave from the NYPD, and with a woman dead of a gunshot wound in her apartment to puzzle and worry her peers - is once more on the rampage. This time, she's obsessively following a trail along historic route 66, in a souped up VW Beetle ragtop. The route is described in detail (including music to listen to at each stage and sights to see) in a series of letters Mallory obtained from the dead woman. They were sent by her father Peyton Hale, and mysteriously addressed to
allory's partner Riker and police psychologist Charles Butler follow behind their sociopathic colleague (who ignores their presence), covering for her and attempting to discover what's going on. They soon bump into a caravan of grieving parents led by smooth psychiatrist, Dr. Paul Magritte. It seems that a serial killer named
Mack the Knife
has abducted and murdered countless small girls along route 66. Almost deranged by grief, the families drop leaflets about their missing children at every stop. Soon new corpses show up, all with one hand chopped off and replaced with tiny bones of previous victims, while new gravesites are steadily uncovered to reveal disturbingly small bones.
ederal agents are in play too, with a team of
seeking out graves, their efforts orchestrated by Special Agent Dale Berman, who has his own agenda - Mallory holds an implacable grudge against the man for past actions that hurt her father figure/mentor, Lou Markowitz. The caravan moves slowly, members die, and Mallory gets ever closer to the father who deserted her mother before she was born, and to the child killer, who in turn shows interest in her. Along the way, she meets people who knew both her parents, and herself shows a surprising sensitivity to grieving mothers. Quirky secondary characters and subplots add to the interest, from the mute little girl the FBI uses as bait to the
, and a grieving father accompanied by a wolf.
is the novel that Mallory fans have been waiting for from the beginning. Escorted by Charles, she follows Route 66 to the end of what has become a very long road, and there finds herself. Don't miss this one.
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