Monday, June 28, 2010

Book Review of Alex Kava's Damaged: A Maggie O'Dell novel

DoubleDay is generously sponsoring a giveaway of Damaged: A Maggie O'Dell Novel. I hadn't read any of Alex Kava's books before, but Lee Child's recommendation put Damaged on the top of my TBR list!

Lee Child had this to say about Damaged:
"Read this gripping, can't-put-it-down thriller. O'Dell could be Reacher's long-lost twin."

The book comes out on July 13, 2010 and can be pre-ordered at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Borders. Or sign up for the giveaway below!
Damaged: A Maggie O'Dell Novel
Summary & Review:
Damaged is the 8th novel in the series of Maggie O'Dell is an FBI profiler. Maggie has proven herself and become the "go to person" for the complex serial killer cases. In Damaged, O'Dell is mentally and psychologically exhausted from her latest case, but she's tough and unwilling to give an unsympathetic boss leverage over her. Maggie has learned to keep her demons to herself. When a cooler filled with body parts is found floating in Florida, her boss sends her down to assist. Maggie ends up in middle of a hurricane trying to help local officials identify a container of body parts, determine whether the parts come from murder victims - and if so, stop the killer.

Maggie's dropped in an unfamiliar city with a minimal support system. Part of the book's strength comes from Kava's description of just how Maggie overcomes these difficulties and learns to make alliances. Things don't come easily for Maggie and she appreciates every consideration and kindness that she receives. Not surprisingly, other folks that are similarly situated warm up to Maggie.

One such character is Liz Bailey. Although she's a secondary character in the novel, Liz stands out. She's a rescue diver which means that she's lowered from a moving chopper into dangerous waters and volatile situations. While her courage, technical expertise, and her fast thinking have saved lives, Liz has been assigned to a new team and must prove herself to them. Like Maggie, Liz faces an unsympathetic and chauvinistic supervisor -- and Liz's handling of him and his pettiness bring a certain something to the story.

This is my first Alex Kava novel and I particularly liked her strong women characters. One thing that struck me was how Kava delved into the dynamics between Maggie O'Dell and her direct supervisor FBI Assistant Director Raymond Kunze and (2) the pettiness and power tripping demonstrated by Liz Bailey's direct supervisor towards the competent rescue diver. Both women respond the only possible way -- they take it on the chin and win my sympathy. I love that both Maggie and Liz prove themselves through their competence and work ethic. It was those small moments that made the book stand out to me.

Despite my focus on the work politics that the two lead women face, Damaged is a detective thriller first and foremost. Kava carefully crafts the story so that the action and clues build on each other to give us a fast-paced and complex thriller. If you're looking for a detective or crime thriller with strong characters and an interesting plot line, Damaged will surely satisfy.

ISBN-10: 0385531990 - Hardcover $24.99
Publisher: Doubleday (July 13, 2010), 272 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author:
Alex Kava's two stand-alone novels and seven novels featuring FBI profiler Maggie O'Dell have been published in more than 20 countries, appearing on the bestseller lists in Britain, Australia, Poland, Germany, and Italy. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America and of International Thriller Writers. Alex divides her time between Omaha, Nebraska, and Pensacola, Florida. Learn more at


I've been trying to find ways of improving my blog. To enter, please mention something that you would like to see on my blog (a positive change) or a suggestion that you have to make my blog better. Or tell me what you like about the blog and would not like to have change. Thanks!

1. Please include your email address, so that I can contact you if you win. No email address, no entry.
2. You must be a follower to join the contest.
3. One winner per household.

The contest is limited to US residents only. No P.O. boxes. The contest ends at noon on July 30, 2010.


  1. I dont think you need to change your blog at all. I think its good. Please enter me in contest. Thank you.

  2. If this book is as good as the other Maggie ODell books are it will be good.Thanks I follow on Google Friend Connect. If I inproved anything it would be the color on the right side. If you used darker lettering it would be easier to read. I do like the way you group things, makes it easier to understand.

  3. I don't think you should change it at all! I was just thinking about how beautiful it is. Love the background, not a lot of clutter on the sidebar--just the right amount of info.

    meredithfl at gmail dot com

  4. I don't see anything that needs improving. You write clear reviews and have a very easy to navigate layout. I would probably agree with changing the color of the writing on the side bar. It is lovely, but it does blend so well with the shaded background that it can be a little hard to read. That would be it if anything.

    I have never read Maggie O'Dell. I would love a chance to win. Thank you so much for the giveaway.


  5. The only thing that I would suggest is to list the My Contests and Giveaways in a darker print as I have trouble reading the light green print. I love the trees background as it really livens up the site. I am also a follower.

    Thank you,


  6. sometimes the site is a little slow to load on my computer. i think it my be the background images, like the forest.

  7. Gaby:
    The layout for your blog is just great! The forest and green is perfect to engender the feeling of "starting fresh."

    And you write beautifully. I enjoyed reading your review of DAMAGED. It certainly helped me make my decision to purchase it.

    Also I second the suggestion of another reader that a darker type on the right hand side of your blog would make it easier for some of us to read.

    Thanks for making your blog available. I'll be checking in often.