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Without Warning    by David Rosenfelt order for
Without Warning
by David Rosenfelt
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2014 (2014)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

David Rosenfelt can always be counted on for a gripping thriller with a unique premise and he's done it again in Without Warning. The story is set in Wilton, a small town in Maine, where Katie Sanford is the editor of the Wilton Journal and war hero Jake Robbins is Chief of Police.

They were close friends until Katie's husband had a fling with Jake's wife and then was convicted of her murder - he died in jail soon afterwards. These events have kept them at a distance. But that soon changes after a hurricane unearths the town's latest time capsule (a local tradition) that was buried five years before. There are concerns that flooding might have damaged the capsule's contents so it's decided to dig it up and check. Katie attends the excavation, and Jake is called in when a skeleton is found, the victim killed by 'blunt force trauma'.

When the capsule is opened, along with the expected contents is an unlabelled box, which includes predictions of a number of deaths, including the murder of Jake's wife. And the tragedies mentioned have already happened or do so soon afterwards. Though some have been ruled accidental, Jake's investigation reveals that they were not, and he gradually realizes that they all have something in common - there is cause to believe that he had a grudge against each and every one of the victims. Is someone trying to set him up as a serial killer, and does it have anything to do with his time in the Marines? And was Katie's husband unjustly accused?

One of the predictions targets the paper's managing editor, Matt Higgins, but someone else dies in his place. He follows the case closely, getting intel from someone close to Jake. As tension builds, Jake and Katie rekindle their old high school relationship, but keep it to themselves, wanting to avoid small town gossip. When Katie disappears, many suspect Jake of being a killer. The FBI is called in and Jake takes a leave of absence, in order to search for Katie himself. Meanwhile a Predictor keeps on pulling puppet strings.

Without Warning is yet another subtle, convoluted and highly satisfying thriller from David Rosenfelt. Anything he writes is well worth reading.

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