The Echo Man
by Richard Montanari
on Tour March 20 - April 7, 2017
It is fall in Philadelphia and the mutilated body of a man has been found in one of the poorest neighborhoods of the city. The victim's forehead and eyes are wrapped in a band of white paper, sealed on one side with red sealing wax. On the other side is a smear of blood in the shape of a figure eight. The victim has been roughly and violently shaved clean — head to toe — a temporary tattoo on his finger.
As another brutalized body appears, then another, it becomes horrifyingly clear that someone is re-creating unsolved murders from Philadelphia's past in the most sinister of ways.
And, for homicide detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano, the killer is closer than they think...
I found this novel to be a psychological thriller of a different style. It's the first I've read of the series and because of that, I was a bit confused. One of the detectives, Byrne, has impressions or visions. He worked independently of his partner, Jessica Balzano, much of the time. His actions were confusing to me and I may have understood them better if I had read the previous novels in the series.
The plot revolves around a serial killer who is murdering the major suspect in several unsolved murders. Byrne and Jessica are on the case. While Jessica investigates in a traditional way, Byrne is in touch with a woman from his past. She is mentally ill but seems to have insight into the case. To make the plot more complex and confusing, a young woman who was kidnapped as a child is added to the plot. Lucy's story has nothing to do with the serial killer. The only connection, I think, is that Byrne knows her. Nonetheless, she is involved in the suspense at the end of the novel. That was odd as I thought there was no reason for her to be in that location.
I always like to learn something when I read a novel and in this case it was about music. The mentally ill woman Byrne knows plays the cello. Music, the movements of a symphony, etc., play an important part in solving the case.
I always find it interesting when authors write main characters of the opposite sex. Since Byrne is off doing his thing in most of the novel, Jessica is our main character. She is a wife and mother and police detective. At one point, she fixes a dinner for her young daughter and then goes off to do evening police work. There is no mention of who would be taking take of her daughter at home. This is the kind of oversight from a male author that female readers will pick up on.
I would recommend that the earlier books in the series be read before this one. It would also be helpful if readers had an interest in music as it is prominent in the novel. The psychological aspect of the novel is more prominent than the suspense aspect so readers who like that will better enjoy this novel. I do like Montanari's writing style and that kept me interested.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
Praise:"This tale had me gripped by the throat, unwilling to do anything but anxiously turn the pages. Richard Montanari's writing is both terrifying and lyrical, a killer combination that makes him a true stand-out in the crowded thriller market. The Echo Man showcases a master storyteller at his very best." -Tess Gerritsen, bestselling author of The Silent Girl
"Richard Montanari's The Echo Man continues his work as a writer whose prose can capture quite extraordinary subtleties. When a man's facial expression is described as "not the look of someone with nothing to hide, but rather of one who has very carefully hidden everything," we know we are in good hands, and with The Echo Man, we are in the hands of one of the best in the business". – Thomas H. Cook, bestselling author of Red Leaves
Book Details:Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: February 7th 2017 (first published January 1st 2011)
Number of Pages: 400
ISBN: 0062467425 (ISBN13: 9780062467423)
Series: Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne #5
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
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I received a complimentary egalley of this book through Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours. My comments are an independent and honest review.