Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Bad Weeds Never Die-Christopher Valen

Bad Weeds Never Die
Christopher Valen
Conquill Press, Sep 1 2011, $15.00
ISBN: 9780980001730

In St. Paul’s Lowertown, at four in the morning patrol cop Palmer found a Mercedes splattered with blood left as the only vehicle still at a park and ride lot. The owner Teresa Blackwood is missing. Homicide Detectives John Santana and Kacie Hawkins lead the investigation. Kacie thinks the missing owner might be the daughter of child psychologist Jonathan Blackwood whose TV show was pulled off the air for reasons other than low ratings.

They go to her condo and meet her frightened reluctantly cooperative live in lover Steven Larson the veterinarian who has a woman from work in his bedroom. The two detectives meet her anxious father and her estranged twin Maria who chose drugs over work. Jonathan explains that his daughters will inherit a million dollar plus a trust fund in two years, but if one dies before that the other inherits half the other’s money now. Maria’s alibi is the family’s married lawyer Daniel Calloway and says her father is dating the cops’ boss Rita Gambolini. They also learn that the twins’ biological mother came from Colombia where John fled when he was sixteen leaving behind his sister Natalia. The suspect list grows and the case takes deadly ominous paths in Minnesota and Columbia.

The latest John Santana police procedural (see White Tombs and Black Minute) is an excellent investigative thriller as the two detectives methodically work a case that spins out of control with homicides. Readers will enjoy accompanying Santana and Hawkins as they follow twisted leads in Minnesota while John learns you can’t go home in a world filled with violent predators.

Harriet Klausner

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