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Degrees of Separation

Author: Karen Wiesner and Chris Spindler
Genre: Mystery
Reviewed by Susan DiPlacido

Degrees This first book in the Falcon's Bend series opens with adoption case representative Stephan Kelley trying to convince himself he did the right thing by breaking up a pair of newborn twin girls and giving them to two different sets of parents. His guilt isn't simply from separating the twins, though. It's because one of the twins was born healthy and strong, and the other one small and sick. In the interest of keeping them both healthy, he assigned the twin who will need immediate medical care to a wealthy couple, while the strong and healthy twin got assigned to a poorer couple. And although the couple passed every possible check and test, Stephan can't seem to feel comfortable with them. As he drops the baby girl off with her new parents, it's not long before the reader feels equally uncomfortable too.

Cut to a young stripper. She's just broken up with her bouncer boyfriend because her other boyfriend, the club-owner, threatened her. On her way home from work, regretting her decision, she gets strangled to death.

Enter Detectives Pete Shasta and Daniel Vincent. They get assigned to the case, and it's not long before the trail leads them back to the strip club where the victim worked. Once there, they encounter the truly creepy and controlling Andre Trelawney. Besides having a strange svengali hold over the five dancers he employs at the club, a couple of whom appear to be grotesquely underage, he has another very curious relationship. His wife, the charming and demure Melody, is a twin to one of the dancers at the club, the harder-looking and acting Cherry.

Thus, the reader gets sucked into this mystery as surely and quickly as Dan and Pete do. This first book delivers a fast paced, riveting storyline wrapped in a well-crafted mystery that's sure to please fans of the genre. It also sets the stage nicely by introducing Shasta and Vincent. Though very different characters, they play well off each other and are both well realized within this engaging plot. This is an extremely promising first book, and if the series can retain this level of quality, it will surely pick up a nice, devoted fan base.

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December 9, 2004 in Mystery | Permalink

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