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While Galileo Preys    by Joshua Corin order for
While Galileo Preys
by Joshua Corin
Order:  USA  Can
Mira, 2010 (2010)
Paperback, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

The killer's first strike guns down fourteen men and women in downtown Atlanta. Across the street in an elementary school's playground, investigators find a note that says, 'If there were a God, he would have stopped me'. Authorities quickly surmise that they are dealing with a master sniper who calls himself Galileo. The killer's respite is short. Next he guns down a company of firefighters, and then takes aim at an auditorium full of teachers in Amarillo.

Esme Stuart had left the FBI eight years ago to stay home, raise a family and live a normal life. When her old boss and mentor Tom calls and asks her to consult on the case, she tells him she'll think about it. Esme's husband Rafe, however, isn't happy with her choice. When Tom is targeted by Galileo, she doesn't hesitate and books the next flight to Amarillo. Body counts continue rising and next on the sniper's hit list is Esme and her family. Will she be able to stop the killer before everything she loves and takes for granted is destroyed?

Despite a crackerjack premise and thrilling action sequences, I sometimes found Esme's back story, her talent to decipher criminal patterns (particularly after she's been out of the loop for the past eight years) and her wishy washy motivations hard to buy into. Should she be a full on investigator or bow to her husband's demands that she stay home to play homemaker and mother? There were too many wasted scenes showing Esme's personal struggles with her relationship, rather than showing her working the case.

Corin also populates his stage with a few too many clichéd secondaries - especially Esme's gruff yet dedicated-to-the-job mentor, the only man who can convince her to step back into her professional role.

Despite these various flaws though, While Galileo Preys delivers a well-written suspense thriller that will keep you well distracted. This is apparently the first in a new series. I'll be interested to see what Corin cooks up for the next instalment - and if he gives Esme a beefier role in it.

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