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Midnight Rambler    by James Swain order for
Midnight Rambler
by James Swain
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Based on fact, written as fiction, Midnight Rambler will strike terror into the hearts of parents of small children or beautiful young women. Full of suspense, thrills and chills, this new book chronicles the abduction and probable death of seven young women. The twisted minds of those responsible will send goose bumps up anyone's spine. An abduction scene of a little one at Disney World will make you hold onto your child's hand until he or she reaches adulthood.

Jack Carpenter and his Australian shepherd Buster take on the sociopathic world of Skell and The Midnight Rambler. Skell has been sent to prison for abducting and torturing Melinda, a stripper. As he is about to be released after it is proved that he had been unfairly incarcerated, Carpenter knows his own future is in jeopardy. Skell was the reason that Jack had resigned from the police force and started on a downward spiral. Jack knew that Skell was a serial killer and beat a confession out of him, a no-no for a police officer.

Jack cannot allow Skell to go free to kill again. Revealing more of the plot would take the suspense out of this tightly written book by James Swain, author of seven other novels. His characters are finely tuned, well-fleshed out with the human foibles of which we are all capable. The bad guys are really bad guys. The good ones stumble along the way to do good, doing their best to put the bad guys away.

The background of Midnight Rambler is South Florida, which is described in terse detail, revealing the gritty along with the elegant. The rapport between Jack and Buster is a delight to read about. I almost expected Buster to utter a few words. Dialogue - real and fast-paced - carries a good bit of the forward motion of the novel. It is interesting to note that Swain's mother had been abducted as a child and lost two years of her own family's life. Midnight Rambler is a must-read to be put on the very top of your reading pile.

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