Sunday, June 15, 2008

Agnes Hahn-Richard Satterlie

Agnes Hahn
Richard Satterlie
Medallion, Aug 2008, $7.95
ISBN: 9781933836454

Three decades ago when she was four years old, Agnes Hahn moved in with her Great-Aunts Gert and Ella. Now years later, six months after placing Ella in an Alzheimer’s home and the next day burying Gert, she heads to work at an animal shelter near Mendocino while thinking about the Voice that has always been with her. At the shelter stood Police officers Steve Wilson and Loreen Didier; Agnes thinks highly of these two cops and other law enforcement as they go after animal abusers. However this time they handcuff her and read her rights to her; the charge is three monstrous murders in the first degree. Detective Bransome drills her, but Agnes insists she was home the nights of the murder as she does not drive in the dark

Newspaper reporter Jason Powers covers the homicides for the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, but also sees a bestselling true crime book. He makes inquiries into the Hahn family, uncovering a stunner; the accused Agnes has an identical twin, Lilin. However, he finds another strange spin, but before he can pursue it with Ella, her brother Eddie murders her only to have someone kill him with the evidence exclusively condemning Agnes. Shocked Jason feels if he can find the answer to the one question that has eluded him, he will have solved the case; why did Gert and Ella only raise Agnes?

Each time Jason and the audience feel they solved the case; Richard Satterlie spins it in another direction with a stunning twist. The story line contains investigative and police procedural elements, but is predominantly a psychological thriller. Agnes will hook readers who get inside her head and learn her value system is structured around good and bad people as she perceives them. Although others like psychologist Dr. Leahy, Detective Bransome and reporter Powers are fully developed characters, the insightful discerning glimpse at the title protagonist makes for a strong tale.

Harriet Klausner