When one of Randi Conway’s psychotherapy patients is found dead of a gunshot wound, the investigation is turned over to Detective Anthony Walker.
Formerly a New York City cop, Walker now serves on the police force of an affluent community in Fairfield County, Connecticut. He lives among the privileged gentry, where he understands that appearances are often far removed from reality. This certainly proves to be true in the death of Elizabeth Knoebel, when Walker discovers that she had been keeping a private journal entitled “SEXUAL RITES”.
In her diary, Elizabeth was recording the explicit details of her sexual adventures with various men, many of whom were married to the women in her therapy group. Elizabeth was a predator bent on seducing and, in some instances, humiliating these men, obsessed with a perverse mission that Walker believes led to her murder.
As Walker uncovers the secrets of Elizabeth’s memoir, he becomes convinced that her killer is another of Randi Conway’s patients.
But which one?
An interesting murder mystery set in Connecticut featuring a Detective who I immediately warmed to. Anthony Walker moved from New York to provide a safer lifestyle for his family, only to have his wife seduced by money and a lifestyle that his small town cop salary couldn't fund. He’s divorced and living on his own. We meet him and Randi Conway when the teenage son of one of her patients is on the roof of the tallest building in town. Walker talks the kid down with the assistance of a six-pack of beer.
Conway and Walker cross paths again when one of her patients, Elizabeth Knoebel is discovered dead from a gunshot wound, naked in her bedroom. The victim was a striking, attractive women and after a search of her computer reveals a “blue journal”, relating details of her many sexual adventures with townsfolk both men and women – a sexual predator – assuming the diary is fact and not fantasy.
Having butted heads earlier with Conway, Walker needs her assistance in identifying the players in Elizabeth’s journal, in order to pursue the investigation, especially as her recording details of her dalliances could offer a motive to her killer, anxious to suppress his or her meandering. Conway, citing patient confidentiality refuses, but is soon receiving notes and threatening phone calls from someone she suspects is the killer, urging her to silence.
Knoebel’s sexual adventures are described fairly explicitly in the book with passages from her journal. I was kind of surprised she hadn't asked her husband to install a revolving door on the bedroom and a ticket machine, such was the frequency of her adventures. The detail in my opinion actually added to the book.
Walker eventually and with very little assistance from Conway, despite a developing personal relationship between the two, does crack the case.
What I really admired about the book was the way the author managed to portray Knoebel as a thoroughly unlikeable individual with hardly any redeeming features, but still held my interest in discovering who actually did the deed. Other books I have read where the victim is unsympathetic usually have me reading out of duty, with little regard for a successful investigation. I had enough emotional investment in Walker to see that he solved the case and enjoyed the manner in which he pursued his inquiries in the face of the usual small town politics and interference from his police chief – the kind of man who would happily assume the credit for a successful investigation but would be all too keen to let Walker take the responsibility if it failed. Oh and if he could actually work the case without upsetting the moneyed and the powerful and the influential in the town, so much the better.
Great mystery, an interesting main character in Walker, with enough going on with him personally to make him someone I would like to read more about in the future. A bit of spice and sexual shenanigans described, without descent into Fifty Shades of Farce. I did struggle to warm to Randy Conway as the other main player in the book. I have to wonder if she is in the right job, as in truth she seemed to offer little benefit to her patients with her relationship advice. Perhaps get a job in a shop, Randy?
Overall really good.
4 from 5
L.T. Graham has written these under a pen-name and is a previously published New England-based suspense writer. His/her website is here.
I received my copy from the publisher Seventh Street Books.