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Review of A Perfect Evil, a novel by Alex Kava.
I am reviewing the paperback version of this novel, published by Mira books, ISBN 978-0778301042, 473 pages, cover price £6.99. Genre Crime thriller.
This novel is currently available from amazon.co.uk for £4.40, new or from 0.01p used.
The Kindle Reader edition is on sale for £2.80.
Alex Kava is the author of 7 thrillers featuring FBI profiler Maggie O'Dell. The subject of this review, A Perfect Evil, is the first in the series.
The story is set in a town called Platte City, in Nebraska.
Ronald Jeffreys has been executed. He had been tried and found guilty of murdering three young boys. In his last confession, Jeffreys had made it very clear to the priest that he was guilty of one murder, but not three.
Three months after the execution, the body of a young boy is found. The child has been killed in exactly the same style as the victims of Ronald Jeffreys
Sheriff Nick Morelli is compelled to call in reinforcements to assist with the murder enquiry and top FBI criminal profiler, Maggie O'Dell is drafted in to help. The FBI agent has her own demons to lay to rest and although she is called to Platte City on her wedding anniversary weekend, she is more than happy to become involved in the investigation and leaves Washington on the earliest available flight.
Together Morelli and O'Dell start to uncover the picture of a child killer. When another boy goes missing, townsfolk are naturally panicked and Morelli's journalist sister, Christine makes matters worse.
As their work progresses and the two are flung together, a strange, professional camaraderie quickly springs up between them. Nick Morelli is known as a ladies man in Platte City and he is attracted to Maggie O'Dell, but he knows she is off limits being a colleague and a married woman. She is remote and her frosty nature certainly does nothing to encourage the sheriff as they strive to find the truth behind the question, was Ronald Jeffreys wrongly accused or is a copycat killer on the loose?
==About the Author==
**Alex Kava grew up in the countryside outside Silver Creek, Nebraska. She earned a bachelor's degree in art and English from College of Saint Mary in Omaha, Nebraska. Her work history is chequered, as she has done a variety of jobs, from working as a hospital technician, cleaning and sterilizing utensils from surgery, pathology and the morgue, to running her own graphic design firm, designing national food labels and directing television and radio commercials.
In 1996 she left her job as a public relations director to dedicate herself to writing a novel and getting published.
Today, Alex Kava is a New York Times best-selling author and has won acclaim for her thrilling psychological suspense novels. A full bibliography and further information can be found on the author's website.
** Sourced (in part) from the authors own website:-http://www.alexkava.com/
==My Thoughts and Conclusion==
What a page turner of a novel! I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the author was not one I was familiar with and this was the first of her novels that I had read, so I had no preconceived thoughts or expectations before reading it.
Being the first in a series, something I did not realise when I purchased A Perfect Evil, the novel can be read as a stand alone book.
The writing style is crisp, fast paced and punchy. The storyline of child abduction and murder is one that may not appeal to some people, but the plot is marvellously crafted, the traumatic events and gruesome murders are hinted at, yet not sensationalised, nor are they graphically described.
In my opinion , it is this very writing style that makes this such a memorable and gripping thriller.
The author has woven some very strong characters into this plot. They are very well drawn and although there are quite a number of minor characters, they all seem to meld very well into the story, without the lines becoming blurred by multiple characters..
I have to say that I disliked the sister of Sheriff Nick Morelli, Christine Hamilton, intensely. She was a self absorbed person who was only concerned with getting a good news scoop, regardless of how her breaking bad news might affect others.
Also, I did not warm particularly to the central male character, Nick. I felt that he was a somewhat weak person who needed a good shaking to wake him up and he should have forced his sister to adhere to the rules of confidentiality, even if it meant arresting her to stop the wild speculation her news articles incited!
All in all, I really enjoyed this thriller, I bought it in February 2011 and read it in one sitting.
I re-read the novel this evening, prior to writing this review. I didn't actually mean to re-read it in it's entirety, merely to refresh my memory, but this is such an enthralling book, that I got carried away!
I intend to look out for the other Maggie O'Dell novels by Alex Kava, if they are half as good as this début novel, then I am sure I won't be disappointed!
Thank you for reading.
©brittle1906 March 2011
N.B. My reviews may appear on other sites under the same user name.
This was a book that I picked up on www.readitswapit.co.uk so I knew nothing about the author and nothing about her style of writing prior to starting to read.
This is one of the first novels by Alex Kava and she has gone on to write many more. They are crime novels in the same genre as Patricia Cornwall, or Kathy Reichs, gritty, descriptive novels with plenty of blood and guts!
The book introduces a character who is a recurring one in Kava's novels. Maggie O'Dell is an FBI profiler. A shining star of the FBI having risen through the ranks very quickly to become one of their best at serial killer investigations. She is married to a lawyer who is not best pleased about the dangerous nature of the job that she loves, a theme which follows Maggie throughout this book.
Shortly prior to this book Maggie had been kidnapped by a serial killer of women and tortured, stabbed and made to watch him kill two women. Obviously this had an effect on her, and this adds an interesting dimension to this book. Making her seem very real and human.
Nick Morelli is the sheriff of a small American town. Having taken over the role from his father he has his doubts about his ability to carry out the duties. An ex American football quarter back he is strong and the ideal hero!
What is the book about?
At the very beginning of the book a confessed murderer is executed for the murder of three boys. Unfortunately shortly after this another boy is found killed, in exactly the same way as the others. Is there a copy cat killer on the loose or was the wrong man executed?
I am not going to spoil a good book by ruining the plot but imagine a fast paced trawl through a murder investigation, where an FBI profiler and small town sheriff have to work together to save small boys!
What do I think?
This is an exciting read. The chapters are written in the third person but from the point of view of different characters. So one chapter will focus on Maggie, the next on Nick and some on the un-named murderer. This keeps the reader guessing and allows us insight into why the characters act the way they do.
It also means that the reader is forced to get to know both the killer and those tracking them, almost forcing you to feel some element of sympathy for a child killer.
The story is extremely fast paced and Kava does not shrink away from graphic details - I almost found it a bit too grusome at times!
Kava has obviously researched her subject matter and the story appears to be based on a real investigation.
Often with crime novels the identity of the bad guy is telegraphed from page one. This was not the case with this novel but I did guess probably 2/3 of the way through. This meant that the ending disappointed me slightly.
Overall this is a good read and well worth taking on holiday if you don't mind some blood and guts!
A perfect evil is the first novel by Alex Kava and we are introduced to the her main character the FBI profiler Maggie O'Dell.
Alex Kava is an author in the style of Patricia Cornwell or James Patterson, in that all the books are full of murder, serial killers and evil. However, her novels are better than Cornwell and Patterson, there is a better quality writer and doesn't use the shock tactics used by other authors. The book comes in at 408 pages, the book has lots of chapters some of which are very short.
In this the first book, a serial killer has been put to death but he insists two of the murders aren't his. No one believes it until a series of murders which echo the original murders and now the cases are being reviewed again.
The murders are in a small Nebraska town called Platte City whose Sheriff Nick Morelli calls in help from the FBI and Maggie is sent to help. Maggie is married but her marriage is under stress and the handsome sheriff certainly develops feelings for her.
Then young boys are taken and the book takes a sinister turn, the murders are clearly similar to murders supposedly committed by a man now dead.
Alex Kava writes her chapters from the first person perspectives from Maggie, Nick, a newspaper reporter whose Nicks sister, and the murderer. The chapter with the murderer is deliberately vague and whose identity is unclear, there are also dodgy priests and redneck policemen with agenda's.
ALex Kava very quickly weaves together a tale of brutal murder in a small town, troubled policemen and characters with very real problems and issues. There is an undercurrent of sex and sexuality and the interplay between the married Maggie and the serial womeniser Nick is well handled and doesn't end with the predictable which is all the more credit to the writer.
I enjoyed the book and though I knew what happens to the main characters in the future as I'd read the 2nd, 3rd and 4th novels it was nice to read the first novel.