4 out of 4 stars
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Amy, a young teenager, confessed to Father Julian that she was raped on multiple occasions and impregnated by her stepfather. Consequently, she had run away from home. He counseled her to go to the St. Joseph’s Parish Convent for help. The next morning, the girl’s nude body was discovered in front of his church. She had been murdered and given an abortion. Unfortunately, she is not the last girl who will be slain—a serial killer is on the loose.
Detectives Jo Crowder and Sid Steele are put on the case. Possessing a dogged determination, Crowder will leave no stone unturned to find clues to the murderer. Occasionally, this means she has to go outside the limits imposed on her in order to catch the perpetrator. In this case, she believes an innocent man has been framed and is determined to discover if he truly is the murderer, or if not, who is? However, Detective Crowder is being thwarted at every turn by Max Hellman, an unscrupulous district attorney. He doesn’t care if the suspect is innocent but is solely concerned with getting a conviction to make himself look good.
The Easter Murders by Richard Zappa is a thrilling crime drama/mystery with some romance thrown in for good measure. It is a 326-page story written from the third-person point of view. Although it is the second book about the protagonist, Jo Crowder, this is a standalone novel with all of the pertinent questions adequately answered by the end of the tale.
The author is a retired trial lawyer, so he is qualified to produce this book, much of which takes place in the courtroom. Although he was an attorney, the story is written in descriptive, simple, and easy-to-understand prose. It jumps right into the action in the first chapter, when the girl’s deceased body is discovered, and continues with clues along with enough red herrings that will keep one guessing until close to the end. It is engrossing and difficult to put down. The plot follows a logical progression that informs the readers of steps that detectives typically undertake to discover the identity of a criminal. I loved the suspense as well as trying to solve the mystery.
Several characters add depth and interest to the story; some of these include likable Jo Crowder (a strong female protagonist dedicated to bringing villains to justice), a despicable district attorney (who will do anything to win his case), and a psychopathic killer (who doesn’t believe that what he/she is doing is wrong).
Because nothing was encountered in this intriguing book that I didn’t enjoy, The Easter Murders achieves a rating of four out of four stars. I enthusiastically recommend it to readers who appreciate thrillers, mysteries, and crime dramas with a dash of romance. Sensitive readers should be aware that profanity and murder (not gory) are encountered in the story, and sex, including rape, is alluded to but not explicitly described.
The Easter Murders
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