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by Lindsay Jayne Ashford
Thomas Dunne Books, December 2007
226 pages
ISBN: 0312355807

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

The dedication "For all those who have been wrongly accused" gives you a clue about the plot of STRANGE BLOOD, second in the Megan Rhys series. Megan, a forensic psychologist, is called in when Tessa Ledbury, an average suburban church-going mother, is found stabbed to death in her own home with a pentagram carved into her forehead. Megan is happy to be on the case; it will take some of the heat off of her for being caught in a relationship with one of her graduate students.

Tessa has been stabbed multiple times in her home, with some signs that she knew her attacker. At first the husband is a likely suspect he is too coherent, too camera-perfect, even in his grief. Then Tessa's secrets start tumbling out the other man, the affair, even the secret other religion.

Before she'd been the perfect church-goer, she had been a Wiccan, having a torrid extramarital affair with the priest of her coven. He is jailed, but the dedication is a hint that a second body will soon be found, with the same pentacle carved into the shreds of her flesh. Who really is the Black Magic Killer, and who will be the next victim?

STRANGE BLOOD is a thin book that's a thinner read. Forensics fans won't find a great deal of scientific exposition, while serious practitioners of Wicca will roll their eyes at Raven's coven of posers. Considering the amount of time Megan puts into thinking about her love life, this almost reads more as chick lit than mystery.

On the other hand, to be fair, it the puzzle holds together I certainly didn't figure out whodunit too early, although with that dedication it was easy to guess by page count who hadn't done it. It's a competent book, but I couldn't find anything to get particularly excited about, either positive or negative.

Reviewed by Linnea Dodson, February 2008

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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