Bell Bridge, May 10 2011, $14.95
Over twenty years ago someone killed Gwyn Sander’s abusive stepfather. The policed assumed the teen having had enough killed him, but whether it was a blue decision that justice was served there was no evidence to arrest let alone convict Gwyn or anyone for that matter.
For the last decade therapist Gwyn Sanders has run a spousal abusers group. However, she was unprepared for the savage murder by Alfred Croce of his wife who attended Gwyn’s sessions. Not long afterward an avenger begins killing the male abusers whose wives belong to Gwyn’s group. The culprit knows insider information as each murder is customized to mimic the victim’s brutalization of women. The circumstantial evidence points to Gwyn with one theory being the Croce homicide triggered her dormant anger at violent men as she assumedly did to her stepfather.
This is a terrific amateur sleuth-police procedural as the beleaguered heroine refuses to be a victim again. Although the story line goes down the path anticipated, the key to making this a strong thriller is the diabolical villain who cleverly remains in plain sight and has the ability to change plans when needed. With an underlying plea to victims to get help, readers will relish Striking Back as Mark Nykanen provides a gripping whodunit.