Author: Stan Schatt
Published by Pen-L Publishing
Release date: September 1st 2014
'Detective "Frankie" Ryan tracks a sadistic killer while the press attacks her as a feminist vigilante who takes the law into her own hands. The only one who can help her is a tabloid reporter who can't decide if he's a psychic who sees ghosts or just someone going insane. As they search for the killer in a sunny seacoast city's seamy S&M underside, they begin to question everything they know about sexual identity. How can they find the killer before he strikes again when he defies description?'
I received an ARC from the author in return for an honest review
Josh Harrell is a very interesting character and he drew me into the story, more so than Detective Ryan, if I’m honest. Psychic ability runs in his family but only manifests when the person reaches the age of 30. I have an open mind when it comes to the supernatural, paranormal and/or psychic phenomena, things beyond comprehension or explanation and this aspect in a story is appealing to me. And very intriguing when applied to a police investigation. The implication criminals can be caught in this manner is an ambivalent issue to many people as is the suggestion there is something beyond the life we know.
Having this ability completely changes Josh’s life and the way people see and respond to him. And like generations before him couldn't decide if it was a gift or a curse. He's afraid he’ll never be taken seriously as a reporter again, but he deals with his new-found capabilities well.
'As his hand held the folder, Josh felt the same surge of emotions he had felt when he had held Detective Ryan’s business card. This time he saw images that were as horrific as anything he had seen from the Taliban. He gasped as he watched the murder unfold.'
Detective Frankie Ryan is also dealing with personal and work related problems. She's walking a thin line and knows if she doesn't solve the murders she will incur the blame. It seems she has a penchant for getting herself into tight corners and for the second time finds herself on suspension.
This story also tackles another intricate, complex and sensitive subject, gender identity, which takes the protagonists into the seedy and disreputable underworld of S&M clubs in LA. It's a sad thought that there are people out there who are so uncomfortable and unhappy with their gender they have to resort to drastic measures to find contentment and peace of mind.
The two criminal investigations running through the book, the double homicide and missing coeds who are coincidentally all psychology majors, are woven together effectively and connected by various threads and characters.
I wasn’t overly keen on the use of ‘the reporter’ and ‘the detective’ instead of the relevant names, it’s a small point but it kind of diminished the connection to the characters slightly. Other than that I enjoyed the book and I liked the attention grabbing cover and the title also, which is very appropriate.
Stan Schatt has written thirty books on a wide variety of topics including a chapter book for children, a YA novel, biographies of Michael Connelly and Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., and books on technology and career changing. His love for teaching is reflected in outstanding teaching awards he received from the University of Southern California and DeVry Institute of Technology. He is a futurist, technologist, novelist, and a person curious about many things. His writing takes advantage of his wide-ranging work, from autopsy assistant to police department administrator, salesman, literature professor and telecommunications professor, technology analyst, and research director. He has always loved technology and politics almost as much as writing. Stan is also volunteer job acquisition facilitator for the unemployed in San Diego. He writes mysteries in Carlsbad, California, where he lives with his wife, Jane.