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Wednesday 29 September 2021

‘The Killing Room’ by Richard Montanari

Published by Sphere,
28th March 2013.
ISBN: 978-0-330-51776-8

I've read several thrillers by Richard Montanari and enjoyed them all.  He writes well and his scenarios are always believable, even if occasionally you need a dash of salt. 

In The Killing Room, the author continues the adventures of Philadelphian detective duo Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano.  Someone is killing people in increasingly bizarre ways.  The first victim – a street person – is discovered trussed in barbed wire.  The second, a new-born baby, is found encased in a block of ice.  Another is forced to swallow smooth white stones until he suffocates.  The killing rooms are always the basement of abandoned churches.  There is an obvious religious edge to the motivation for the murders. 

All the two detectives can say is that a religious fanatic of some kind is clearly behind the killings.  But how do you find the person responsible?  Add to the seemingly impenetrable mix a good dose of humorous banter, a highly ambitious freelance TV reporter, a travelling preacher and a vulnerable lad (with the marvellous name of Gabriel Hightower) desperately in need of saving from his unsavoury background and you have a sizzling story that will not only keep you turning the pages, but also provides the kind of tender note not usually found in a thriller as taut and exciting as The Killing Room

NB: I hope that we shall be hearing more of Gabriel, and his delicate relationship with Kevin Byrne. 
Reviewer: Susan Moody
Other books are The Violet Hour, (1998),  Kiss of Evil (2001), The Rosary Girls (2005), The Skin Gods (2006), Merciless (2007), Badlands (2008), The Devil’s Garden (2009), and The Echo Man (2011)

Richard Montanari  was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the scion of a traditional Italian-American family. After an undistinguished academic career, Richard traveled Europe extensively, living in London for a time, where he sold clothing in Chelsea, and foreign language encyclopedias door-to-door in Hampstead Heath. After working as a freelance writer for years, during which time he was published in more than two hundred publications -- including The Chicago Tribune, The Detroit Free Press, The Seattle Times, and many others -- Richard wrote three pages of what was to become the first chapter of Deviant Way He was immediately signed to a New York agency

Susan Moody
was born in Oxford is the principal nom de plume  of Susan Elizabeth Donaldson, née Horwood, a British novelist best known for her suspense novels. She is a former Chairman of the Crime Writer's Association, served as World President of the International Association of Crime Writers, and was elected to the prestigious Detection Club. Susan Moody has given numerous courses on writing crime fiction and continues to teach creative writing in England, France, Australia, the USA and Denmark.  In addition to her many stand alone books, Susan has written two series, one featuring PI Penny Wanawake (seven books) and a series of six books featuring bridge player Cassie Swan. Her most recent series features Former Detective Inspecter Alexandra Quick. There are three books in the series.

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