In this, the third Cassidy James novel, Kate Calloway proves that there is "something nasty behind the picket fence". David Lynch would be proud of the way she takes a small town in Oregon and shows its dark underside (sound of theme to Twin Peaks). Cass has two issues to tackle in this book; who is the intruder terrorising the women of Cedar Hills and which of two desirable women is she really in love with? You have to wait until the end to discover the answers to both questions.
The crime is nasty and despicable, a mystery man is breaking into women's homes, stunning them with a stun gun and terrorising them. It is only after one woman comes to Cassidy for help that the true extent of the crime is revealed, with a number of women coming forward to admit to being victims. Calloway doesn't present you with a multitude of suspects, just enough to make it interesting and to keep you wondering who it will be. On top of that the events unfold against the background of a bid by developers to build a resort on the lake and this may or may not be linked to the crimes. Then the assaults escalate from humiliation to murder.
As if that wasn't enough, Cass has to choose between the two women in her life, novelist Erica Trinidad and psychologist Maggie Carradine. Compared to this finding the mystery assailant is easy! Calloway keeps you guessing from start to finish (in fact until the last line of the book) about who Cass will choose. Calloway tries hard to be even handed and make each woman equally likely as the one Cass will choose, for what it's worth at the end I reckon Cass makes the right choice! Both women are involved in the main action of the book and so the whole novel hangs together in a most pleasing and coherent way.
If all you want in a mystery is lots of suspects, a multitude of confusing clues and red herrings, and more twists and turns than a snake with colic, then perhaps this is not a book for you. However if you enjoy a good read with well-created characters, good writing, an interesting plot and a dash of romance then you'll enjoy Third Degree.
Oh yes it does have an 'interesting' chase in it too.
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