|Tami Hoag: Kill the Messenger|
Bantam Books (Hardcover), ISBN 0-553-80195-3
What can I say about a book that I started and finished in a single evening? "I couldn't put it down" seems pretty lame, besides being a cliché, but it happens. And it happens more often than not with Hoag's action-packed thrillers. Her multi-dimensional characters, incredible plots, and settings so realistic they almost come with sounds and smells add up to an unforgettable read. They leave me completely breathless -- and totally envious of her enormous talent and even greater imagination.
A bicycle messenger in Los Angeles, 19-year-old Jace Damon, tucks a wrapped package under his shirt and rides through the pouring rain to make his last delivery of the day. Jace dreams of a hot shower and food at the end of his harrowing run. It doesn't happen.
The complications surrounding Jace's life become infinitely worse. The delivery address turns out to be a vacant lot. An unknown someone tries using a car as a weapon of messenger destruction. The collision damages Jace's bike. He falls, hurts his ankle, and hobbles away. The unknown person follows, tears the messenger bag from Jace's back and a bit later shoots at him.
Jace manages to escape and makes his slow way back to the customer who gave him the package. Not a good move. The customer lies bloodied and dead. Jace's fingerprints adorn the murder weapon. The cops see him as a viable suspect -- and Jace has reasons why he can't turn himself in.
Enter a police detective, one considered a rogue, with problems of his own. Will he find Jace in time to save the boy's life and get the package Jace still holds -- the package that contains more truth than someone wants made public?
I recommend this mystery without reservation.
Patricia Lucas White
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