Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Gray Matter by Shirley Kennett (Open Road)

This novel was recently released as an e-book and is the first of five books in the P J Gray series. Penelope Jennifer Gray, known as PJ, is a newly divorced psychologist and expert in computer simulation. She and her 12year-old son have just moved to St. Louis where she will be working for the St. Louis Police Department as head of a new division, CHIP (Computerized Homicide Investigations Project), to use virtual reality (VR) to solve crimes. PJ is developing a software program that reenacts the crime using VR. The plan is to have several months to set up the program prior to actually using it. However, when a famous pianist is found dead, decapitated with his head missing and a strange craving of a dog on his back, she is assigned the case on her first day in the office.

PJ’s police partner is Leo Schultz, a veteran cop fast approaching retirement, who has been a desk jockey for several years. Schultz has no desire to have anything to do with computers or PJ, but he does want to return to field work. As more victims are discovered it becomes a race against time to identify and capture one of the worst serial killers of all time. PJ and Schultz work the case, using traditional police techniques and VR to enter the mind of the killer. The suspense becomes almost unbearable when PJ and Schultz make some serious mistakes and the killer realizes they are on to him.

The characters are very well developed, the relationships seem real, and the murders are very frightening and bloody. It is not difficult to visualize the crime scenes, but I could not put this book down. I read to the wee hours of the morning—good thing I am retired! I can't wait to read the other four books.

--Helen Jones

FTC Disclosure -- This book was provided by the publisher in e-format.

PS from Molly - I read and reviewed this book when it came out in hardcover. I totally concur with Helen's assessment!

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