Posts Tagged ‘Savannah’

THE ECHO KILLING by Christi Daugherty: Book Review

Harper McClain has the job she loves in the city she adores.  She’s the crime reporter on the Daily News in Savannah, her home town, and she relishes every crime that comes in over her scanner.  That may sound heartless, but multi-car accidents, abductions, and murders are what get her blood flowing, as she would be the first to admit.

A call from Miles Jackson, a photographer on the paper, brings Harper to a part of the city that usually doesn’t get much violence.  But today is different, as she sees at least half a dozen detectives surrounding a house when she arrives at the address Miles gives her.  Talking to the neighbors, she learns that the victim is Marie Whitney, a divorced woman with an eleven-year-old daughter.  And when Harper sees young Camille gently being led to a waiting police car, the crime becomes very personal.

For Harper, this is déjà vu.  When she was twelve years old, she came home from school to find the bloody, nude body of her mother on the kitchen floor.  Despite an intensive investigation, the killer was never found.  Now Harper is frantic to get a look inside the home to see if this murder scene is reminiscent of the one that destroyed her family.

Circumventing the police and other reporters, she makes her way through a neighbor’s yard to a spot where she’s able to look into the Whitneys’ kitchen window.  And, confirming her worst fears, the scene is identical to the one in her head.  Marie Whitney is nude, with three stab wounds visible on her back and arms; even her hair was almost the same color as Harper’s mother’s had been.  Can it be the same killer at work more than a decade later?

The kitchen has been wiped clean of any clues, Harper learns.  There are no clothing threads, no fingerprints, no footprints, no DNA on any of the surfaces.   According to one police source, the killer must have been a professional.  But the reporter wonders why a hired killer would have murdered Marie, a secretary at the local college, a woman who surely didn’t have ties to any criminal group.  And certainly Harper’s mother wasn’t involved in anything illegal.

What has Harper determined to look into the crime, regardless of prohibitions by the police and her close friend Lieutenant Smith, is the look on Marie’s daughter’s face as she is led into a detective’s car.  That’s the same look that Harper knows she had when she was taken away from her mother’s corpse.  She needs to find the killer, both for young Camille and for herself.

There’s a very clever twist at the end of The Echo Killing that I certainly didn’t see coming.  Christi Daugherty has written what I hope will be the first in a series featuring a young professional woman who’s ready to go after what she wants, even if it means heading into a dangerous situation, to learn the truth.

You can read more about Christi Daugherty at this website.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her website.  In addition to book review posts, there are sections featuring Golden Oldies, Past Masters and Mistresses, and an About Marilyn column that features her opinions about everything to do with mystery novels.