Desert Isle Keeper
Kill and Tell
Ah, those sexy, slow-handed Southern men. First, there was Dane Hollister in Dream Man; and now there’s Marc Chastain in Kill and Tell. Being a Northern girl, I’m beginning to think I’ve been missing something – and I’ll bet you Southern gals know what that is, too.
“Nooawlins” – that’s New Orleans to you and me – is homicide detective Marc Chastain’s beat. A skid-row bum has been murdered and Marc has an itchy feeling there’s a lot more to it than the tragic death of an anonymous street person. One shot, right between the eyes, no noise, no witnesses – just who was this guy? When a second corpse is found across the border in Mississippi, there seems to be no connection – but Chastain is nothing if not good at his job, and he starts checking out the two victims to see if there’s a link. Of course there is.
Dex Whitlaw, the first victim, had been a Marine sniper in Vietnam. He killed for his country and did his job well. But just once, he killed for money, and the memory of it, the guilt, drove him away from his wife and daughter to lead a solitary life in the streets. Rick Medina, the second victim, had been a Marine sniper in Nam, too. Had they known each other? Worked together? They were murdered the same day in the same way – what’s the connection?
The connection is Dex Whitlaw’s kill book which lists all the enemy kills he ever made, including the one out-and-out murder. The book is now in the hands of Karen Whitlaw, Dex’s daughter, a nurse in Cleveland. Oh, Karen doesn’t know she’s got the book, but the bad guys (and there are several) all figure she has it, or knows about it, and will stop at nothing to retrieve the incriminating little book.
Karen and Marc meet when she flies to New Orleans to identify and bury her father. Marc is galvanized by his intense attraction to the quiet, cool, controlled young woman, and begins making plans for a sultry seduction. He touches her at every given opportunity, supports her emotionally and physically, and leads her quietly into the steamiest night of sex a woman could ever hope to have. There are not many love scenes in this book, but what’s there will leave your knees shaking. At one point, Karen muses, “What could be more romantic than a hot sax and a slow dance on a balcony in New Orleans on a rainy summer night?” And she thinks that every woman should have a lover like Marc Chastain, at least once in her lifetime. Amen, sister.
Cops, politicians, CIA, FBI, NOPD, Cleveland PD, daughters, sons, brothers, military, servants, and more – this book is packed with personnel, a few too many at times. Through it all, the weather is sticky, New Orleans is spicy, Karen is soft and Marc is hard and it all comes together in a deftly woven, action-packed tale of murder and retribution.
The story centers around who’s name was it in Dex Whitlaw’s kill book – a murder twenty-some years earlier – that it has come back to haunt someone? Even though I figured it out immediately, that knowledge didn’t alter anything, the story being more of a tale of suspense than mystery. Tracking down the clues shares equal time with the romance in this book – when we are with Marc and Karen, the focus is entirely on the sexual tension, but when we aren’t, we’re focused on the various and often divergent paths that lead the many and sundry pursuers to the truth. Introduced late in the story is a character I wanted to know much more about: John Medina. He’s the son of the second victim, and Linda Howard has laid the groundwork for his story. To tell you the truth, I drifted off thinking about Marc Chastain, but I dreamed about John Medina.
Not quite as good as Dream Man, Kill and Tell is still a good read and I sure can recommend it.