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Image: Three and a half moon gifSt. Martin's Minotaur (Paperback) ISBN 0-312-97494-9
If my editor would allow a one-word review, my word for this book would be "fascinating." However, since she insists on a more complete review, I'll add "complex," "multi-Book: Eleanor Taylor Bland, Scream in Silencelayered," and "as much a mosaic as a mystery." Bland takes tiny, seemingly disparate pieces; glues them in randomly at first; then reveals the whole picture; brings the culprit(s) to some sort of justice; and makes everything right in Marti MacAlister's world of police work, blended and extended family and a new husband. The journey to that end blends personal and police problems (of both criminals and police), plus bringing in some history that involves her partner, Matthew "Vik" Jessenovik, during his high school days.

An arson, a bombed mailbox and a body bring Marti and Vik into the hunt -- and that's just the beginning. Throw in a scam artist (who does it for fun), an old lady confined to her room, more fires, more bodies, more bombs and a paper trail to end all such. I refuse to call it the mother of all paper trails, but it could be. Marti and Vik work long hours. Vik worries about his wife and Marti worries about her family, old and new. Marti also must deal with a certain amount of on the job botheration -- not because she's African-American, but mostly because she's female and a good homicide detective.

Book: Eleanor Taylor Bland, Done WrongAll fascinating, but when a handful of old ladies, some infirm, some spry, join the cast, even more drama ensues. Even Marti's mother plays a role.

An incredibly complex book, Scream in Silence, displays Bland's considerable talent as she deals with each character, each nuance, with skill, turning the book into a page turner. But beyond that it also offers a study of a working policewoman, a newlywed, a mother, stepmother and daughter, while giving the reader an all-too-brief glimpse at life in Marti's Chicago suburb.

Patricia Lucas White

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