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Bone Thief    by Thomas O'Callaghan order for
Bone Thief
by Thomas O'Callaghan
Order:  USA  Can
Pinnacle, 2005 (2005)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

This disturbing serial chiller is set in New York City. It opens on the horrific abuse the murderer and his sister suffer as children. It then fast forwards to the lead investigator, Lieutanant John Driscoll grieving at his daughter's tombstone - she died in a car accident that also left his beloved wife Colette comatose.

The Lieutenant and his Task Force (including Sergeant Margaret Aligante, a looker who has a thing for her boss) are assigned the case of a killer Driscoll calls a ghoul. He butchers women, removing head, hands, feet, and all their bones. Victims include a housewife and a tea heiress. There's huge pressure from City Hall and the press. A link to a Druidic sacrificial incantation, 'To the sun and the moon and the stars', brings Driscoll in contact with the Tiernan family, whose fourteen-year-old daughter Moira reminds him poignantly of his own lost child.

Moira is a self-confident computer whiz kid (at times I found her techie skills a little too magical), with ambitions to catch the killer. She dabbles in the case, too much so for Driscoll's peace of mind. Moira concludes that the killer is luring women through the Internet, and follows his sticky trail through the web. In parallel with the investigation, Driscoll deals with his guilt over the attraction he (a married man) feels to Margaret, and their relationship progresses. And the bone thief continues to seek new victims.

I enjoyed Bone Thief, though at times I found the characterizations, and the deus ex machina solution through computer use, a little awkward. But if you enjoy a gruesome thriller with appealing characters and a surprising villain, then it's well worth a read.

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