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Sunday, May 15, 2011

"The Killing Storm"~A new Sarah Armstrong series mystery~ by Kathryn Casey

Touted by reviewers as the best in the Sarah Armstrong mystery series, this book by Kathryn Casey is a page-turner you can't miss!
Watch this video for an outstanding preview...

Here's the plot from Kathryn Casey's perspective:
A quiet afternoon in the park, and four-year-old Joey Warner plays in the sandbox, when a stranger approaches looking for his runaway dog. While Joey’s mom, Crystal, talks on her cell phone, the stranger convinces the child to help search. By the time Crystal turns around, her son has disappeared. Yet her behavior is odd, not what one would expect from a distraught mother. Is Crystal Warner somehow involved in her son’s abduction?

Meanwhile, on a cattle ranch outside Houston, Texas Ranger Sarah Armstrong assesses a symbol left on the hide of a slaughtered longhorn, a figure that dates back to a forgotten era of sugarcane plantations and slavery. Soon other prizewinning bulls are butchered on the outskirts of the city, each bearing a different but similar drawing. Before long, the investigations converge at the same time a catastrophic hurricane threatens. Someone very close to Sarah is brutally murdered, and the clock ticks, as the storm moves in. If Sarah doesn’t act quickly, the child will die.
Here's a picture of Ms Casey, unassuming as she is, her mind is a steel trap!  She's devoted to her little dog, Nelson.

My Review:
I've just finished reading The Killing Storm as a tropical storm of thunder and lightening grumbles and blitzes its way around me and the skies are dark with torrential rains.  I'm glad it's in this setting Kathryn Casey's book draws to an end for me because her story climaxes during a horrendous hurricane that wars demonically against her protagonist, Sarah Armstrong. I couldn't have asked for more atmospheric drama!

However, in this case, I didn't need the help of a storm at  home to experience her book because Ms Casey had me spellbound and muscle-strained with tension and suspense by itself.  She has the ability to create a tightly woven procedural of a kidnapping in which one feels drawn along moment to moment feeling the pressure to find a little boy before he's killed.  This atmosphere Kathryn Casey creates is exhilarating and realistic enough with all its symbols, loose gaps and questions.

Sarah Armstrong, the Texas Ranger who is the central figure of Ms Casey's mystery series, is intelligent, driven and womanly.  Not your typical pushy and sometimes offensive woman law enforcer, Sarah is a refreshing alternative.  I like her strength that comes from competence, self-confidence and a cooperative spirit of equality, a valuable sign of a woman's "coming of age" in a man's world.  It stands Kathryn Casey well for the creation of such an admirable and unique character.  I loved Sarah's winning ways and was inspired by her leadership and heroics.

Succinct and thorough, highlighted with family, friendships and love interests that make Sarah's life full and compassionate, I grew interested in adjunct characters who aren't over-played but who easily might work into future books.  I felt an ominous sense of their safety hanging over The Killing Storm.  Her mother, a rancher and bakery owner is also a strong, wise, silver-haired, very capable woman to be admired; and, her early teen-aged daughter is a trooper, too.

Kathryn Casey's years as a non-fiction crime writer (she's published several books in this genre), and magazine writer, are evident in her well disposed novel.  She leaves no rock unturned as investigative thought processes form, and she doesn't waste the reader's time by dragging the story on with unnecessary side commentary as if we were novices.  Ms C. respects the intelligence of her readers, obviously...another refreshing find in a mystery writer.  Some of this ability must come from her writing and researching of non-fiction murders.  She understands and conveys the facts at a pace that keeps us wanting more.  I believe she understands the psychology and mind of a killer and lets us in on that, too...an altogether enticing and proverbial "edge of the seat" experience.

What more can be said except this novel is one you who love a good mystery will not want to miss, and will want to collect along with your favorite authors.  I certainly see Sarah Armstrong's in my future...I'm absolutely reading the first books in this series.

I shudder to draw a comparison for you with another mystery writer.  Kathryn Casey is a singular writer whose characters will be read for themselves alone.

5 stars
Please see:  http://www.kathryncasey.com/  for more on this book and others, including a chapter or so to read!




Very good review of an interesting-looking book! Do you think that a person should read this author's books in order, or are they all stand-alone? Thanks in advance! Rae


I think they are stand alone books, but I'm going back to read her first books in the series. I really loved this book, Rae. I wasn't kidding when I said I thought she'd be one of the author's I'm going to be buying in the future...

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