Reviewed for Front Street Reviews
Originally posted Mar 31, 2008
I enjoyed the book KillRod: the Cross of Lorraine Murders. The style at first was reminiscent of Mary Higgins Clark, one of my favorite authors, in that we were shown flashbacks first of how the murderer came to be the way he was, and later getting into his mind through his own thought processes about the how and why of the murders. That said, Bill Ison has his own style of writing and flow and it held my attention from start to finish. I found it easier to follow along once I realized that each chapter heading told me where I was in time and place, so it made for a cohesive story all through.
His hero Hart St. James is a sculptor working in Hollywood doing sets. When Kelly Moran, a famous actress, asks him to come to her home no one is more surprised than he is. She wants to give her plain bedroom fireplace a more exciting look and asks him to work up some designs for her to go over. They spent a lot of time talking together over the next few days and learning how comfortable they feel with each other. With great shock after spending their only night together, he suddenly finds himself up to his unprotected neck in trouble as he tries to find a vicious killer and avenge the death of his newly discovered soul mate. He is sure that her death is political, that she must have inadvertently learned or heard something that put her in danger. Hart is a Special Forces veteran of the Viet Nam war and through his training and jungle time has developed a sixth sense of awareness and silent fighting that saves him several times. (I think a hard head did, too!) First a suspect in Kelly’s murder, somehow his skills have allowed him to work alone but with the police and FBI on the case.
His visit to Washington and his descriptions of the monuments and memorials there as seen through the eyes of a sculptor were wonderful. As beautiful as his descriptions of the seedy part of Chicago were sad and dreary.
Bill Ison has fascinating insight into how trauma can affect people differently, from the early beginnings of the killer to the early beginnings of Hart himself. Hart is pretty laid back except when his jungle tiger instinct kicks in. This book has excitement, action, strong characters, interesting locations, several twists, some humour, and some soul-searching as well. I enjoyed one chapter in particular about the “Big Seventeen”, very secretive and one more twist in this story. This is Bill Ison’s “first novel written specifically to be published”, and I certainly am looking forward to more of his writing. I recommend this book, it flows quickly and is easy to read for a thriller.