Markus Novak just wants to come home. An investigator for a Florida-based death-row defense firm, Novak's life derailed when his wife, Lauren, was killed in the midst of a case the two were working together. Two years later her murderer is still at large, and Novak's attempts to learn the truth about her death through less-than-legal means and jailhouse bargaining have put his job on the line. Now he's been all but banished, sent to Garrison, Indiana, to assess a cold case that he's certain his boss has no intention of taking.
As Novak knows all too well, some crimes never do get solved. But it's not often that the man who many believe got away with murder is the one calling for the case to be reopened. Ten years ago, a teenaged girl disappeared inside an elaborate cave system beneath rural farmland. Days later Ridley Barnes emerged carrying Sarah Martin's lifeless body. Barnes has claimed all along that he has no memory of exactly where - or how - he found Sarah. His memory of whether she was dead or alive at the time is equally foggy. Tired of living under a cloud of suspicion, he says he wants answers - even if they mean he'll end up in the electric chair.
But what's he really up to? And Novak knows why he's so unhappy to be in Garrison - but why are the locals so hostile toward him? The answers lie in the fiendish brain of a dangerous man, the real identity of a mysterious woman, and, deep beneath them all, in the network of ancient, stony passages that hold secrets deadlier than he can imagine. Soon Novak is made painfully aware that if he has any chance of returning to the life and career he left behind in Florida, he'll need to find the truth in Garrison first.
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Competent Airplane Reading
Petkoff, yes. Korda, no.
Korda writes fast-pace page-turning prose well. He annoyingly makes simple mistakes in plotting though, introducing characters such as his mother and his wife without bringing resolution. He thoughtlessly leaves careful readers and those who like mysteries hanging on unresolved or undeveloped plot lines.
Anyone familiar with science, especially psychology or neurology will be greatly annoyed by his credulous and ham-handed misinterpretation of these disciplines. So will anyone who knows about caving.
Korda's cliffhanger ending is distorted by his blatant commercial for the next book in the series. While he seems not to have drawn up a careful plot, he clearly is following a well-thought-out financial plan. I read and enjoy commercial novels, but the author is so clumsy at the end that in his excitement to advertise, he spoils the ending.
His voice, diction, and pace are pleasant. More importantly, his voices for different characters bring them to life and complexity.
He writes excellent, tight, well-paced page-turning text. It kept me reading in spite of my annoyance with the book.
- Mark E. White
Like Koryta but not this book
- Dr. Meggin McIntosh