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by Michael Fredrickson
Forge, May 2004
320 pages
ISBN: 031287457X

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Michael Fredrickson's A DEFENSE FOR THE DEAD is a nicely-paced suspense novel focusing on attorney Jimmy Morrissey and his quest to unravel a mystery surrounding a serial killer, a man who is unaccountably linked to Jimmy.

When the killer, known as Van Gogh, is tracked down and killed, he is found with a picture on the table beside him. In the picture is an attractive young woman, and on the back is Jimmy's phone number. When two FBI agents bring the picture to Jimmy in an effort to tie up all the loose ends in the case, Jimmy becomes almost obsessed with the woman in the picture. By the time the agents leave, Jimmy is also obsessed with finding the connection he has with her -- and with Van Gogh.

What Jimmy learns in his investigation leads him on a journey full of twists and turns and which leads him into the world of a charismatic transvestite entertainer. The journey also causes Jimmy to explore more deeply his own views about men and women and their relationships. And finally, it also compels him to actions that both surprise and disgust him -- that make him question his values and his morals.

Fredrickson's novel is nicely crafted. There is a good blend of major and minor characters and of the secondary storylines with the main storyline. Fredrickson's minor characters lend both color and solid background to his story. Relationships between these characters and their pasts are clear and allow the reader to grasp their motivations as well as to better understand the actions of the main characters.

A DEFENSE FOR THE DEAD is an excellent novel. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys novels that are fast-paced, have well-defined and interesting characters, and have a compelling storyline.

Reviewed by Kim Holloway, November 2004

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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