Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Killing Room by Gerri Hill

Publisher:              Bella Books

There are writers whose books you know you're going to enjoy before you ever open the covers. From previous experience, you know that the author is adept at storytelling, creating interesting characters and unique plot points. Gerri Hill is one of the authors you can add to that list, if you haven't put her there already.

The Killing Room is a murder mystery about two women who come from different worlds and philosophies. Jake McCoy is a police officer from Denver who has retreated to her mountain cabin to recover from wounds she sustained when she tried to keep a man from killing a child…and failed. She has come to the mountains with her dog Cheyenne to escape from the nightmares that haunt her and to decide if she still has what it takes to be a police officer. She would rather be alone than anything until one day when a stranger discovers her soaking in a nearby hot spring. Jake invites the woman to join her and events lead to a night of exquisite passion. When Jake wakes up in the morning though, the woman is gone without a trace or any indication of her identity.

Jake assumes this is a relationship that wasn't meant to be and returns to Denver to resume duty. She is immediately embroiled in the hunt for a serial killer who is preying on abused women. As she and her partner begin to piece the clues together, the only thing the victims have in common is a therapist they have all seen who specializes in these cases. The surprise waiting for Jake is that Dr. Nicole Westbrooke is her mystery woman from the hot spring and that Nicole is deeply closeted and not quite certain she is happy to be found.

Nicole associates with a group of lesbians who are all professionals and highly successful, including one predatory character who plans to run for mayor. They keep their relationships within the group and protect the truth about their sexual orientation rigorously. Her friends disapprove of Nicole's interest in Jake on more than one level. Jake doesn't hide her preferences and they are afraid her relationship with Nicole will call attention to the rest of them, possibly ruining their careers. More disturbing though is the snobbishness that the group exhibits because Jake just isn't "one of their kind" since she isn't a college degreed professional and earns much less money than they do. Unfortunately, Nicole seems to buy into their attitude, but she has to be in contact with Jake because it soon becomes clear that the killer's real target is her. He's just using her clients to shake her up before he makes his final kill, Nicole. Two stories then develop. Can Jake penetrate layers of secrecy within the police department and identify the killer before he reaches Nicole? Can Nicole overcome her fears about exposure and rejection by her friends to allow her relationship with Jake to grow? Throw in a terrific twist in the crimes and you have a very entertaining book.

Gerri Hill is not pretentious in her storytelling. She develops her characters so well that you feel as if you know the people. She wraps them in a storyline that is so engaging that it's easy to lose track of time as you turn page after page to discover what is going to happen; then you regret that the book is over because you want to visit longer with her creation. Hill is definitely a writer who delivers a consistent and quality product, always worth reading.

No comments:

Post a Comment