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The Chemist: A Cale Van Waring Adventure    by Janson Mancheski order for
by Janson Mancheski
Order:  USA  Can
Bridgeway, 2008 (2008)

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* * *   Reviewed by Pat Elliott

Detectivie Cale Van Waring is the man of the hour. He works Homicide and Special Cases. And this case falls under the latter. Three girls are missing, without a clue about their abductor. A headless corpse washes up in Lake Michigan. She is one of the victims and soon another girl goes missing.

Cale, like most cops, cannot commit to his live-in girlfriend, Maggie. He carries baggage from another time and place when a girlfriend was killed due to his mistake. Now Maggie has had enough. If Cale can't promise a wedding ring and a white veil, then Maggie will be gone by the Fourth of July.

The reader is given inside information about how the crimes are committed and why. The hopelessness of the situation is chronicled in the thoughts of the victims as they lie powerless in a dark basement waiting for the torture that has become routine.

Cale and his partner James 'Slink' Dooley move slowly through a maze of misinformation and possible information to find a faceless ghost nicknamed the Nowhere Man. The capture of the Nowhere Man becomes even more personal when Cale's partner is injured and Maggie is kidnapped. But even the Nowhere Man makes mistakes, and revenge is sweet.

This is a good read, if a bit slow. Mancheski's mission is to show that not all evidence is processed as it is on TV shows and not all crimes are solved within an hour. He does that as he and his partners slog through a maze of possibilities, putting their lives in danger, before nailing the real killer - proving that it is true police work and savvy that catches criminals.

Mancheski, an optomistrist living in Wisconsin, is currently working on the next Cale Van Waring adventure. We'll be looking out for it.

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