3 mystery books for spooky season in Colorado


Girl, Forgotten (William Morrow)
Girl, Forgotten (William Morrow)

“Girl, Forgotten,” by Karin Slaughter (William Morrow)

Andrea Oliver, a newly minted U.S. marshal, is assigned to protect an aging Longbill Beach judge who’s received death threats. But the real reason for the assignment is to prove that Clay Morrow, a vicious killer who happens to be Oliver’s father, murdered a pregnant girl 40 years earlier.

As readers of Slaughter’s “Pieces of Her” know, the jailed father is threatening Oliver and her mother. Oliver hopes pinning the murder on him will keep him from getting parole.

In the 1980s, Morrow was part of a five-member high-school clique in Longhill Beach. On an acid trip with the other four, Emily, a virgin and the judge’s daughter, wakes up pregnant, with no memory of who assaulted her.  As the pregnancy becomes public, members of the clique, as well as everyone in town, turn on Emily and spread vicious rumors about her promiscuity.  Emily’s mother refuses to let her have an abortion for fear that anti-abortion President Reagan won’t appoint her to a judgeship. Then Emily is murdered. Morrow is a primary suspect, but there’s no proof.

Andrea tries to solve the cold case while protecting the judge and investigating a cult run by the most vicious member of Emily’s old clique.  “Girl, Forgotten” is a page-turner of a thriller by an acclaimed best-selling author.

“Heat 2,” by Michael Mann and Meg Gardiner (William Morrow)

When the movie “Heat” ends, only one member of the Neil McCauley gang is left alive. Wounded, Chris Shiherlis makes it to Koreatown, where he gets medical help and a ticket to Paraguay. There he works security for a corrupt Asian family empire. Shiherlis teams up with the daughter in her efforts to break away from the family and start her own highgtech company.  The result is a murderous feud with both the family and vicious rivals.

Meanwhile, Vincent Hanna, who killed McCauley, is hunting for Otis Wardell, the psychopathic leader of a gang of home invaders, who rob, rape and kill residents.

“Heat 2” is both a prequel and sequel to the movie. Shiherlis and Wardell eventually are pitted against each other in this action-packed thriller. “Heat 2” is sure to be a movie.

The Hunt (William Morrow)
The Hunt (William Morrow)

“The Hunt,” by Faye Kellerman (William Morrow)

Peter Decker is ready to hang up his badge and move to Israel, but when the body of a woman is found close to where a man disappeared in an unsolved case, Decker decides to solve one more mystery before he retires.

It’s no surprise that the two cases are connected.  The dead woman, Patricia, was the sometimes lover of Elsie Schulung, who is implicated in the disappearance. In “The Hunt,” Decker has to pull it all together.

Meanwhile, Teresa McLaughlin, whose son, Gabe, a concert pianist, was raised by Decker and his wife (this gets pretty complicated unless you’ve read Kellerman’s other books), is beaten and her son kidnapped.  Gabe calls his father, Chris Donatti, Teresa’s fabulously wealthy ex-husband, who owns a string of brothels, for help.

McLaughlin has filed for divorce from her second husband and assumes he’s behind the kidnapping.  But Donatti discovers the criminals are thugs demanding the husband cough up the $2.5 million he owes in gambling debts.  Donatti agrees to pay the ransom and rescue the boy on one condition:  Teresa must agree to remarry him.  It’s a devil’s bargain.



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