Murder in Missoula

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Joe Nicoletti is a retired DEA agent taking a break from D.C. to participate in a a conference in Missoula, MT. He meets up with a couple of former colleagues but it is his introduction to Justine, an enchanting young University of Montana professor – who reminds him of his late wife – that launches the plot.

Comfortably chatting with the professor and her friend on the patio of a local café, he is disconcerted when a creepy guy in a grey jacket and driving a grey SUV disturbs his enjoyment by gently brushing the young woman’s hair as he passes.

Nicoletti, disconcerted, can take no action, only note the man’s appearance and suspicious behavior. Later, he and Justine attend a university party, then go for dinner followed by a little romancing. As they relax peacefully together in a lakeside park, Nicoletti inadvertently leaves his jacket and monogrammed pen on the grass. These become clues leading to his arrest when Justine is found strangled at her home and suspicion falls on him. However, the unwanted development is soon recognized as a political ploy by the local police chief, and Nicoletti contrives to carry out a little surreptitious investigating.

Durbin, the man who raised Nicoletti’s misgiving is an accomplished voyeur, fairly new in town, who runs a dog-grooming parlor. He has mimicked Justine’s home, the furnishings, decoration and even clothing. He is an appalling voyeur, a sinister character.

As we anticipate further intrigue and tragedy, Dr. Kimba, an elderly psychiatrist, breaks his neck after tumbling downstairs. We learn that the identity of Durbin, his patient, was about to be revealed and the tentative verdict of ‘accidental death’ is reassessed as probable murder.

Casting the net wide, countrywide investigation reveals Durbin’s similar earlier practices. Nicoletti and his friends display considerable courage, cunning, and patience as they strive to trap the serial killer.

Murder in Missoula scores high for a well-defined plot with enough twists to be compelling, and realistic characters who are not labeled with weird names less accomplished authors often choose. No red herrings disrupt the flow and the book’s clarity is enhanced by realistic dialogue carrying the chapters from one scene to the next.

But a word of warning: Avoid reading the book at night if home alone!


Reviewed By:

Author Laurence Giliotti
Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 304 pages
Publisher Chateau Noir Publishing
Publish Date 17-Sep-15
ISBN 9780990926627
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue April 2016
Category Mystery, Crime & Thriller
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