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Killing the Shadows    by Val McDermid order for
Killing the Shadows
by Val McDermid
Order:  USA  Can
St. Martin's, 2002 (2000)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Professor Fiona Cameron is an academic, involved in developing scientific methods to help the police catch repeat offenders. She was motivated to enter this field after the (unsolved) murder of her younger sister. Fiona is married, to the disapproval of her fellow academics, to Kit Martin, who happens to be 'the country's leading writer of serial killer thrillers.' Extracts from serial killer fiction are interspersed throughout the novel and the reader discovers fairly early that someone is targetting authors of these books and mimicking their methods. Of course, this is not known to the authorities and even the expert, Fiona, considers it unlikely at first. But Kit is in very real danger.

I enjoy McDermid's Kate Brannigan series very much, and especially like her heroine's unusual relationship with the wimp next door. The author depicts an equally engaging couple this time, a pair of individuals with a very comfortable and credible relationship. Kit loves to cook and his best friend, Detective Superintendent Steve Preston has been Fiona's friend for even longer and still loves her.

There are several murderers on the loose in this story operating from the past to the present and with links to Toledo, Spain as well as to Britain. The author keeps the reader guessing about the relationships, if any, between them. However, the number going on at one time did seem excessive. With that small reservation, Killing the Shadows is a very well crafted thriller with engaging protagonists, a nicely complex plot, interesting psychology and some touches of romance for good measure - a very satisfying read.

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