Monday, October 27, 2014

The Girl In The Woods-Gregg Olsen

The Girl In The Woods
Gregg Olsen
Pinnacle, Oct 28 2014, $9.99
ISBN: 9780786029945

In Port Orchard, Washington, on a nature hike in Banner Forest, an Olally Elementary school sixth grader finds a human foot.  Sheriff’s Detective Kendall Stark and Kitsap County Forensic Pathologist Birdy Waterman look into what happened that led to a severed body part.  The rest of the person is not found nearby and remains missing.  Birdy believes an animal ripped the foot off of a probably dead teenage girl.

Meanwhile Birdy’s sixteen year old nephew Elan asks to stay with his aunt for a while as he left his home after seeing his mom in his bed with her lover.  At about the same time Elan came to Port Orchard, Ted Roberts dies suspiciously with the pathologist thinking his wife Jennifer poisoned him.  Thus Birdy heads to Arizona to exhume and test the body of Jennifer’s first husband for poison.  Extreme Hoarder Tess “The Mess” Montgomery reports her high school daughter Darby missing to the Sheriff’s Department; and soon afterward dirt biker and Afghanistan war veteran Marvin Best finds a corpse with one foot missing in a garbage bag.  Investigating Darby’s homicide, Stark and Waterman follow clues leading to a fired prison guard and an extreme narcissist serial killer convict with raging grudges towards Tess.

The first Waterman and Stark police procedural is a fabulous investigative mystery with a three-dimensional cast involved in several dysfunctional relationships (by far the most positive is the friendship and mutual respect between the two investigators).  Filled with twists, especially an astonishing unexpected but plausible climatic spin, readers will appreciate the detective and the pathologist working together on two homicides.

Harriet Klausner

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