Thursday, June 25, 2009

Body Count by P.D. Martin

Title: Body Count
Author: P.D. Martin
ISBN: 9780778325215, Mira Books, 2005
Genre: Police Procedural, #1 Sophie Anderson mystery
Rating: B+

First Line: The house is quiet. It's 3:00 a.m.

Aussie transplant Sophie Anderson has been working as an FBI profiler at Quantico for about six months. She's made a home for herself as well as several friends-- especially fellow profiler Samantha Wright. The only thing in her life that she's not sure how to deal with is her psychic ability. When she was a child, she had dreams that presaged the disappearance and murder of her brother. She's had occasional visions and dreams ever since.

Sophie may feel uncomfortable with her gift, but she's smart enough to use it in her career. When women begin to die and the media dubs the latest serial killer the "D.C. Slasher", Sophie's unit goes into high gear trying to put together a detailed profile of the killer that will lead to a swift arrest. When Sophie's friend Samantha is abducted, the FBI closes ranks and works desperately to find one of their own before it's too late.

I really enjoyed this book. Martin knows how to plant subtle clues and set a fast pace to keep the suspense cooking. Sophie is a multi-faceted character, and her desperation is palpable as she tries to find her friend Samantha.

I was afraid that Body Count might descend into "fem jep" (the female lead character willingly putting herself into deadly situations), but it didn't. All the female characters were cautious and didn't take silly chances-- especially Sophie and Samantha. Unfortunately they weren't cautious enough for a particularly wily killer.

For readers who prefer a book to be spiced with a bit of romance, there is a touch of that in Body Count, but not enough to bother those who prefer to do without it. Another aspect of the book that I enjoyed was watching the profilers work to piece clues together in order to identify a killer.

One thing that bothered me a bit was the rather weak portrayal of Tucson. (So weak that I wonder about the author's sources.) And although I slapped my forehead when the Slasher's identity was revealed, it made me wonder if such a person really could stay unidentified for so long.

But both of those things are minor quibbles. I enjoyed the plot, the pace and the characters so much that I'll be continuing on with the series. Sophie is one FBI profiler on whom to keep an eye!


  1. Great review! I agree with the female characters not being silly. I just finished the next book which is Murderers' Club which rocked. I guess I have the advantage of not being from America. I have book 3 and 4 in Mt TBR.

  2. Thanks, Caspette! I have several favorite mystery writers who aren't American, and it can be interesting sometimes trying to get their books in my hot little hands. Now I've started reading Australian writers too, so my dilemma will only get worse!

  3. So glad to see you enjoying our Aussie writers Cathy. I think the second book in this series is even better than Body Count. Let me know if there are Aussie books you have trouble getting hold of - If I have it on my 'read and really should dispose of' shelves or can source a copy I'd be happy to send them your way - always keen to spread the work of my compatriots.

  4. I like the sound of this one, too!

  5. Another series to watch for. I must finish the ones I'm on!!!

  6. The weak portrayal of Tucson wouldn't bother me since I've never been there. The book sounds like a winner to me!

  7. I read this book recently, and rather enjoyed it, though for some reason I immediately guessed the ID of the villain/ess so that aspect was not a surprise to me. I also did not like the theme,not so much the torture (which was not gorily done, thankfully) but the fact that the suspense depended on the fact that the reader knew that one of the female friends was going to be kidnapped and tortured. I felt rather uncomfortable with that - to the extent that, although I enjoyed the book, I am not sure I enjoyed it enough to want to read another. (Though Berndadette's recommedations are invariably spot-on so probably I will relent at some point!)

  8. This sounds right up my alley! I love crime reads! I'll have to add this one to my list.
    Natalie :0)

  9. Bernadette--Thank you so much for that kind offer!

    Jenclair--And from all accounts, the second book in the series is even better!

    Beth--I know...I'm a bad influence!

    Kathy--That's why I didn't downgrade the book much. Just how many people have been to Tucson? LOL

    Maxine--I'm finding that, the more I pay attention to Bernadette, the more I find that I agree with her. (That and the fact that she keeps steering me toward good books!)

    Natalie--I'm glad I could add to your wish list!


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