Sunday, December 12, 2010

Killer View

Killer View by Ridley Pearson

When a skier goes missing at Sun Valley’s Galena Summit, Sheriff Walt Fleming quickly assembles his crack search-and-rescue team and heads out into the snowy night. Despite the treacherous conditions, Walt and his group, including deputy Tommy Brandon and Walt’s best friend, Mark Aker, set off on skis, accompanied by highly trained search dogs. Within minutes, something goes horribly wrong: a shot rings out, and one of their team is dead. By morning, Mark Aker has disappeared.

Torn between professional responsibility and the desperate urge to find his friend, Walt is further challenged by an unexplained illness at a local water-bottling plant that sends workers to the hospital and sets off biohazard warnings. Following threads of questionable evidence through the glitter of Sun Valley leads Walt to an unlikely—and darker—source, and reveals a crime played out on a much larger scale than he originally envisioned. Waist-deep in snow and knee-deep in lies, the life of his friend in the balance, Walt begins to suspect that the whole operation is controlled by people of great wealth and power, which leaves him where he started: out in the cold.

--Killer Weekend by Ridley Pearson, Copyright ©2008 Ridley Pearson, published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons

My Review
It started off as a simple search and rescue mission. It ended with one member of Sheriff Walt Fleming’s search-and-rescue team dead and another missing. Fleming focuses his energy on finding his missing friend but is soon distracted by other problems: employees of a local water-bottling plant are getting sick and local ranchers are inexplicably burning their sheep in open pits.

Veterinarian Mark Aker, the missing friend, proves to be much more resourceful than his kidnappers could ever have imagined. Members of a radical group calling themselves the Samakinn plotted the whole missing skier scheme so they could get their hands on Mark and force him to help their cause. He not only can help them, he’s perfectly willing to…but he’s not an easy prisoner to hold and when he makes his escape into the snowy countryside, they have to find him before anyone else does, or before he dies of exposure.

Meanwhile, Walt’s personal life is in disarray as he tries to be a good father to his twin daughters as he and his wife proceed with their divorce. It doesn’t help that she’s the jealous sort. It’s perfectly all right in her mind for her to live with another man—Walt’s chief deputy Tommy Brandon—but as soon as she sees Walt and Fiona, the sheriff department’s part-time photographer, together in what she assumes is a romantic clinch, she goes crazy and takes the girls away from him.

Somehow, Walt must divide his attention between getting his girls back and finding Mark, all the while trying to unravel the mystery of the sick employees and the euthanasia of the local cattle. He starts drawing the different lines together and begins to paint a picture of a cover-up on a scale that’s much bigger than any he could have ever imagined.

Compared to the first Walt Fleming book, Killer Weekend, Killer View far outshines its predecessor in plot construction and story telling. The different story lines all seem unrelated at first, but the more you read, the more they all start to come together until you can’t put the book down because you want to know how it all ends. I laughed out loud when Walt decided to take Tommy up in his glider—because Tommy doesn’t like small planes and he’s sleeping with Walt’s soon-to-be ex-wife—and let out a loud “ewwww!” when I found out where the bad guy was hiding from Walt in the shed (very clever, but yuck yuck ewww!!!).

As a reader, you want your favorite authors to throw something new and different at you and not the same old story lines with one or two little tweaks. Killer View may start out sounding familiar but slightly different, but stay with it…it will take you places you never thought you’d go.

I give this story THREE AND A HALF STARS.

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