Virgins and Martyrs
E. L. Merkel
Five Star, Apr 2008, $25.95
In Spanish Bay, Florida, a powerful bomb devastates a family planning clinic that provides abortions; two are dead. At the moment local detective Beaulieu leads the investigation at least until the FBI arrives. He is proud that he found a second bomb in a car before that could explode. However, he miscalculates the cunning of the terrorist as a third bomb ignites killing police detective Tara Kinsey and severely injuring her partner Aria Quynn.
The police and FBI suspect sniper Bobby Teasdale who admits on the Centurions of the Lord website that he is hunting twenty-seven abortion-providers in northwest Florida. However, Federal prosecutor Howard Zhang-mei and FBI agent Moira Osterholm encourage Aria to investigate who killed her partner. After an ugly incident with TV reporter Jack Reason at Tara’s funeral, they team up following clues that take them to thirteen year old Maddie Shepard who has had stomata cuts and godly visions that lead back to the Centurions.
VIRGINS AND MARTYRS may star a cop, but is more an urban noir than a police procedural. Aria is terrific as she faces down men and women including verbally pounding Jack and “bi*ch slapping a big ex-con as she understands no man will report police brutality against a female cop who physically over-powered them. With a great final spin that ties up the loose ends, fans will enjoy tough ass Aria’s unofficial investigation into who killed her partner.