Byrne and Balzano #8
Mr. Marseille and Annabelle are young, good-looking, beautifully dressed, and exceedingly polite murderers. We meet them when they kill a teenage girl, pose her in macabre fashion on a freshly painted bench, and leave her with an invitation to a tea dance.
Philadelphia homicide detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano are assigned the case. On the day of the tea dance, two more bodies are found, this time with another invitation to a tea dance, along with a doll that is an exact replica of the first victim; things get progressively darker from there.
More bodies and more dolls keep Byrne and Balzano following a path that takes them tantalizingly close, yet the twists and turns keep coming as they are thwarted by this young couple time and again.
The relationships here are interesting; Marseille and Annabelle are an enigma, which is nicely juxtaposed by the relationship between the detectives, who have worked together so long that they can practically read each other’s thoughts.
Longtime fans of the series will not be disappointed; The Doll Maker is just plain good, creepy fun.
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4/15 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch
THE DOLL MAKER by Richard Montanari. Mulholland Books (April 28, 2015). ISBN 978-0316244732. 496p.