Doubleday, 2010; 272 pages
This review refers to an uncorrected proof of the novel, furnished free of charge by the publisher.
Description from the publisher:
On Pensacola Beach, the Coast Guard prepares for a Category 5 hurricane that has entered the Gulf of Mexico. When the air crew patrols the waterways, they spot a huge fishing cooler about a mile offshore. Drug traffickers have been known to dump coolers with smuggled product to avoid detection and pay fishermen to retrieve them. But when the crew open this cooler, they’re shocked by what they find: body parts tightly wrapped in plastic.My Thoughts:
Though she is putting herself in the projected path of the hurricane, Special Agent Maggie O’Dell is sent to investigate. Eventually, she’s able to trace the torso in the cooler back to a man who mysteriously disappeared weeks earlier after a hurricane hit Port St. Lucie, Florida. Only Port St. Lucie is on the Atlantic side. How did his body end up six hundred miles away in the Gulf of Mexico?
Overall, I enjoyed Damaged. Not quite as suspenseful as I had hoped – you sort of know from the beginning how the whole thing is going to tie up at the end. But Alex Kava is great at leaving you with just that teensy bit of doubt – just enough to keep you reading to see if your guesses are correct. She keeps the action rolling, too, peoples the book with an appealing cast of colorful characters, and pares it all down to the fine essentials without a lot of unnecessary filler. And although the subject matter can be a little gruesome (severed limbs, body parts brokers, shenanigans in the mortuary, etc.), the forensic details are fascinating. Maybe not for everyone, but if you're not squeamish about such things, it's actually a fun read.
This is Alex Kava's eighth whodunit featuring FBI profiler Maggie O'Dell, but my first. As usual, I've jumped right into the middle of a series, and I think that probably influenced my reaction just a bit. Some of the relationships that have been established in the earlier books were a little puzzling to me as I read this one. But that didn't keep me from enjoying the book. I liked Maggie O'Dell and definitely want to get to know her better.
Note: I received an advance uncorrected proof of this book from the publisher, free of charge. No other compensation was received, and no one tried to influence my opinion of the book.