Mira, Jul 2004, 12.95, 352 pp.
NYPD Special Units Victim Detective Noah Jordan and his partner Mark Perez worry that a sociopath has surfaced following the mutilated corpse of a victim wearing a nun's habit. The dead woman had her pubic hairs shaved into a cross. By the next day, they know that the deceased was a prostitute.
Psychiatrist Dr. Morgan Snow of the Manhattan sex therapy clinic Butterfield Institute fears for her patient, call girl Cleo Thane who has missed several appointments, something she never did. Morgan files a missing person's report. She conjectures whether a memoir filled with the sexual proclivities of the powerful that her patient left with her has something to do with the disappearance. Noah sees no link between the elite level that Cleo worked and the homicides of the streetwalkers he investigates. Morgan begins her own inquiries when she realizes that Noah will not. Going undercover, she quickly knows she is in danger with only Noah to keep her safe.
THE HALO EFFECT is the first in a series of novels starring Morgan and the Butterfield Institute; if this is example of the tales fans will have plenty to look forward to in the future. The story line deftly consolidates a police procedural with an amateur sleuth with the interconnections being the serial killing of prostitutes and the attraction between the two stars. Interestingly Morgan's subplot is more intriguing as she adds a sexual psychological insight to her inquiries while Noah's line is well written, but is typical of a police serial killer chase. Readers of crime thrilling romantic suspense will know that have a bouquet of Roses with this fine novel and its subsequent stories.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner