In this very dark mystery set in Maine, Alex Rourke is asked to come home and help with a murder investigation. Alex is a former FBI agent born and raised in Winter's End, Maine. He hasn't been home once since he left years ago and now has resurrected his life as a private investigator in Boston.
But Sheriff Dale Townsend, brother of his best friend in school, needs his help. Sheriff Townsend has a suspect in the recent murder of a local woman. While the suspect was seen standing over the nude body holding knives in his hands during a heavy rain, there is not any proof that he actually committed the murder. The man won't confess or say anything meaningful at all and the Sheriff is stumped. The Sheriff and Alex worked another case a couple of years ago by phone with Alex suggesting a couple of things and that fact along with the fact that Alex had a reputation as a very good interrogator before his mental breakdown several years ago, convinces him that Alex is the man for the job. They need identification of the suspect and a confession fast as the local population is very upset and the pressure is on to close the case.
Alex agrees to help and soon finds himself back home in Winter's End dealing with a suspect that seems to be playing with him for his own amusement. At the same time, Alex begins to confront why he left in the first place and his actions the last several years. Alex is forced to deal with the past as dark forces move around him, pushing him towards a final confrontation and not just with the suspect.
This report prepared by Kevin R. Tipple
St. Martin's Dec 2003, 23.95, 304 pp.
Aroostock County, Maine Sheriff Dale Townsend and Deputy Andy Miller are driving south of Winter's End in a storm when a flash of lightning enables them to see a twenty something male out in the rain holding knives. The two law enforcement officials get closer only to see the young man hovering over an obviously dead woman with stab wounds all over her chest. The cops arrest the culprit for murder.
The victim is quickly identified as forty years old nurse Angela Lamond, but the Sheriff has no idea who his incarcerated suspect is. The guy has no record and refuses to even divulge his name. Dale calls his friend former FBI interrogator Alex Rourke to help on what appears is an open and shut case. Now a private investigator, Alex leaves Boston for Maine to see if he can coax answers from the apparent culprit. Though he slowly has some success, Alex concludes that this relatively silent person anticipated his arrival, but why this seems so remains unknown.
WINTER'S END is an incredible police procedural that hooks the reader from the opening grisly scene to the final unexpected twist even with readers expecting a final curve ball, but not one that would make Blyleven proud. The story line never slows down as the Sheriff and the ex-Fed try to break a vicious case that seems so obviously resolved. The cast is strong and believable so that readers will appreciate spending December in WINTER'S END, Maine.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner