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by Jeff Abbott
Orion, July 2004
320 pages
ISBN: 075286095X

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Although I could see nothing to that effect in the blurb to A KISS GONE BAD, its tease chapter, supplied with the previous release, the Edgar-nominated CUT AND RUN, announced that the book would be the first in the Whit Mosley series. This explains various points which would otherwise appear to be chronological aberrations -- such as why Whit ruminates on his mother as though he did not know the how and why of her disappearance when he was a tiny child and also why his father Babe is hale and hearty in this narrative although dying in the previous story.

Chapter One deals with a rather horrid character who likes to think of himself as the Blade. This charming fellow has already made away with three women whom he thinks of as his 'darlings'. He has selected his next prizewinning candidate and is just marking time until she can be apprised of her good fortune.

Judge Whit Mosley is unpleasantly surprised when told he must issue a death certificate for Pete Hubble, the son of Senator Lucinda Hubble. Pete, a rather older contemporary of Whit, had left Port Leo some years previously. He had deserted his wife Faith and their son Sam. Whit, unbeknownst to Pete and almost all of the citizenry of Port Leo, has become romantically involved with Faith -- occasioning what could be perceived as a conflict of interest in the case.

A great deal of pressure is exerted on Whit to call the death a suicide. Otherwise convinced, Pete's porn director (Pete, the magnificently endowed, was himself a porn star) girlfriend Velvet (whom the Blade hopes to make the star of his own new drama) insists Pete would never kill himself. This is an opinion shared by police detective Claudia Salazar. Pete was making a movie very different from his porn masterpieces. This was to be an investigation into the disappearance of his young brother Corey many years previously and it was unlikely he would terminate that before its completion.

As is usual with an Abbott book, the tale gallops apace, leaving much death and injury in its wake. The author is able to imagine rather horrible fates for his bodies. The gore notwithstanding, the plotting is good and the characters eminently believable (within the boundaries of fiction). Whit's friend Gooch, of the strong principles but bendable morals, once more comes to his friend's aid. The reader gets a hint that there may in future books be a warmer relationship between Salazar and Mosley but that is just a teasing possibility.

If readers have enjoyed previous Abbott works, it is unlikely that this Anthony nominated book will disappoint.

Reviewed by Denise Pickles, October 2004

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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