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Four moon gifSt. Martinís Minotaur (Hardcover), ISBN 0312266324
Val McDermid possesses a quality most writers wish for: the ability to completely and utterly involve her readers in a gripping story that doesnít let go, even after the novel ends. A Place of Execution binds the main plot -- the disappearance of a young girl in 1963 -- with the tale of author Catherine Heathcote, ostensibly writing a book about the situation that occurred some 30-odd years before.

Book: Val McDermid, A Place of ExecutionAlison Carter, a 13-year-old native of an extremely small and close-knit English village, vanishes one evening while walking the family dog. Her distraught mother phones the police station, rousing Detective Inspector George Bennett, who becomes more involved in the case than he ever expected.

Seemingly thwarted at every turn, Bennett continues to dig more deeply into the villagersí private lives, often making enemies of the very people he needs to help him in the investigation. In fact, the inspector begins to believe that Alisonís disappearance may be tied to similar cases in the same part of the country. Due to his doggedness and determination, a seemingly impossible case finally breaks and the villagers celebrate when the killer gets his due. Or did he?

Book: Val McDermid, Booked For MurderIn this intriguing and compelling novel, Val McDermid creates a world none too distant from todayís news reports of missing and abducted children. In typical McDermid style, she adds several layers of plot, skillfully winding words, description and dialogue around her readers, urging them deeper and deeper into the story. Then, when the drama seems almost too intense, she begins to peel back layer after layer of the construct until finally, the reader discovers what he or she believes is the ending. Then watch out -- McDermid reveals yet another plot twist, cleverly hidden and so much an integral part of the narrative that one realizes just how expertly the tale evolved.

A Place of Execution deserves a place on any "best reads" list for 2000, and I highly recommend it to lovers of terrific storytelling.

Maria Y. Lima

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Readers Respond

I just got finished reading A Place Of Execution, and I must say in all honesty that it was by far one of the best books I have read in a long time! From page one, you are personally involved in the story. You take it personally. You are there experiencing for yourself! Just when you think you have everything figured out, you are thrown another curve that not only causes you to mentally retrace and correct your steps, but at times draw up a whole new map. You are on the edge of your seat from the word go! You aren't satisfied until you have read the last page, and then you wish there was more. I would recommend this book to anyone who knows how to read!

Bill Rowland