Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Breathtaker

By Alice Blanchard

Charlie Grover is the police chief in a town in Oklahoma. As a boy, Charlie was terribly burned when the house caught on fire. His mother and little sister died in the blaze. Charlie spent months in the hospital and endured many surgeries. As an adult, he still deals with the pain of his scars.
Charlie's pain isn't just physical. His wife died a few years ago and he is raising his teen daughter alone. And he has issues with his abusive, alcoholic father, whom he blames for the fire that killed his mother and sister.
A tornado hits the town and a family is killed in the storm. At first, it appears they died as a result of injuries inflicted by the tornado. But closer examination reveals they were murdered and the murderer used the tornado to disguise it.
It isn't too much longer before Grover uncovers more victims of this sneaky killer. This ruthless and deranged person uses the chaos of the storm to enter houses and murder the inhabitants in horrible, cruel ways.  As the story advances, the murders become even more bizarre and vicious.
Charlie Grover has more than just a disturbed killer to worry about. There's his terrible relationship with his father, the disconnect with his teen daughter, the local drug dealers, the wild boy chasing after his daughter, and one of his officers who has gone missing. Plus an interesting woman has entered his life, the first woman he has been attracted to since his wife died. He has all this to deal with plus a murderous lunatic disguised as an ordinary person.

This was quite a gripping and exciting story. Charlie Grover has lots of baggage that adds so much to the story beyond that of the murder. I actually read this book in one day. I think I found the story of Charlie's relationship with his father to be the most interesting part of it.  Charlie has to deal with several red herrings and doesn't even have a clue as to the real killer until almost the end of the story. His struggle to understand what is happening was the best part of the story for me.

See also Publishers Weekly at

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