Spokane, Washington, a bustling city split by hurtling white-water falls. One afternoon a young woman's body is found buried in a riverside park - then a second body, then a third. Before the week is out Caroline Mabry is plunged into a full-blown hunt for a serial murderer her colleagues have nicknamed the Southbank Strangler. As Caroline and ...
Spokane, Washington, a bustling city split by hurtling white-water falls. One afternoon a young woman's body is found buried in a riverside park - then a second body, then a third. Before the week is out Caroline Mabry is plunged into a full-blown hunt for a serial murderer her colleagues have nicknamed the Southbank Strangler. As Caroline and her troubled mentor, Alan Dupree, bridle under an investigation overrun by headline-grabbing "specialists" and bean-counting statisticians. As they close in on a suspect Caroline and Alan confront dark truths about the killer-hunting industry - and about their attraction to each other. And in the end they come face-to-face with an evil very different - and far more alarming - than the one they thought they were chasing.
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Jess Walter is quickly turning into one of my favorite authors. I loved both Citizen Vince and The Zero, and decided to go back to one of his earliest novels, Over Tumbled Graves.
It's a work of fiction, but apparently based on a real-life series of murder in the Spokane, WA area. A series of dead prostitutes are found, each clutching two $20 bills with other less savory similarities as well.
The lead is Caroline Mabry, a detective with some issues, and it is the depth of character that Walter shows of us not just Mabry but several other characters that sets this apart from just another crime novel. The story is well told with a well-structured twist that is quite satisfying.
Walter continues to be able to weave strong story, characters and create beautiful prose in the process. He's an author more people should know about, and Over Tumbled Graves is a nice introduction to his strengths.
Publishers Weekly, 2001-01-01 Shifting ably to fiction, true crime specialist Walter (In Contempt; Every Knee Shall Bow), turns out a strong, character-driven serial-killer thriller. In Spokane, Wash., a handful of homicide investigators watch helplessly as one prostitute after another is found murdered in a downtown park. Sgt. Alan Dupree, an old-style cop who eschews modern police investigative methods like criminal profiling, initially leads the team. As the so-called Southbank Killer's death toll rises, Dupree is replaced by Chris Spivey, an arrogant upstart with great academic credentials but no street savvy. Spivey brings in two nationally known serial-killer profilers, who waste precious time belittling each other personally and professionally while drawing up what are essentially boilerplate profiles. Spivey also recruits Det. Caroline Mabry, a hard-working investigator who manages to rise above squad-room politics and disagreements about how the case should be handled. Mabry is a complex character, suffering from a raft of personal problems as well as career doubts. She and Dupree finally uncover evidence that the whole investigation has been built on a faulty premise. Unlike many entries in the serial killer category, Walter's stays fresh by placing character development above shock value. His focus is on the human side of police work, not on the killer and his ghoulish behavior. (Feb.) Forecasts: A rave endorsement from James Patterson, who's not nearly as blurb-happy as is, say, Stephen King, could go a ways in making readers take notice of this fine first novel. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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