Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Disturbance by Jan Burke

The blurb:
Despite her reporter's nose for trouble, Irene Kelly's life has almost returned to normal -- the Las Piernas News Express wobbles along in defiance of its financial woes, and with the help of her husband, Frank, and a good therapist, she's recovered from the debilitating post-traumatic stress disorder that haunted her after her near-fatal encounter with Nick Parrish. Until she receives some unwelcome news: Parrish, once thought permanently paralyzed by the injuries he sustained fleeing recapture, is walking again.  And the rumor among the Moths, Parrish's online fan club, is that he's coming after Irene.

Suddenly, Irene is on the other end of the microphone, being hounded by the media for interviews and plied with questions she'd hoped never to have to answer again.  She tries to believe that she is safe from Parrish, who is imprisoned in a maximum security facility, and that the growing stream of threats from the Moths is all just talk.  But an unnerving prank soon lets her know that someone, at least, wants her to be afraid.  And when a young woman's body turns up in the trunk of a car near her home -- naked, frozen solid, and decorated from head to toe in elaborately painted moths -- it becomes clear that Irene will once again find herself pitted against a brutal murderer. She knows the twisted hunter who is stalking her all too well...or does she?

This was my first time reading one of Jan Burke's Irene Kelly novels. Disturbance opens with Irene Kelly recovering from her traumatic capture and attack by serial killer Nick Parrish.  Clearly, the convicted killer is still obsessed with Irene - after all, he was nearly paralyzed when she was rescued. 

The book doesn't focus on the killer's twisted thoughts or plans, which makes Disturbance a much more satisfying sort of thriller.  Instead of the killer's thoughts, the book is told from the point of view of Irene and this stranger Donovan.  Donovan has a link to Parrish but he holds himself apart.  While Donovan seems to assist Parish in his attacks on innocents, he views Irene and her companions with respect and sympathy.

I don't want to reveal much of the plot.  It's an unusual thriller with a serial killer that doesn't focus on the violence but instead on the impact of the attacks on likable characters.  Highly recommended!
ISBN-10: 1439152845- Hardcover $26
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (June 21, 2011), 368 pages.
Review copy courtesy of the publisher.

About the Author:
Jan Burke is the author of a dozen novels and a collection of short stories. Among the awards her work has garnered are Mystery Writers of America's Edgar® for Best Novel, Malice Domestic's Agatha Award, Mystery Readers International's Macavity, and the RT Book Club's Best Contemporary Mystery. She is the founder of the Crime Lab Project (www.crimelabproject.com) and is a member of the board of the California Forensic Science Institute. She lives in Southern California with her husband and two dogs. Learn more about her at www.janburke.com.

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