The Rosary Girls
By Richard Montanari
Kevin Byrne: A veteran cop in the doldrums looking for a big case. Jessica Balzano: A new homicide detective dealing with an absent husband and new opportunities. Together they will partner to go up against a new killer in Philadelphia. One who is heinously killing Catholic teenage girls, mutilating their bodies and leaving them in poses of religious significance. Suspects abound but the victims keep dying. Can Byrne and Balzano stop the killer before he completes his mission and what happens when the case turns personal?
I enjoy mysteries with a puzzle. There are so many serial killer stories and the majority of them seem to be killer vs. cop. Sometimes there is a puzzle to be solved, but this type of mystery adds a religious aspect, a definite reason behind the murders. Plus, there are a couple of subplots that intrude which make for more complications in each of the cops’ lives.
Kevin Francis Byrne: Philadelphia homicide detective of over twenty years, divorced, tall, big frame, wheat colored hair, green eyes, upside down V shaped scar above right eye, smokes, suffers migraines with visions, likes Blues music, has a deaf teenage daughter, two police commendations
Jessica Balzano: 29, 5’8”, brand new Philly homicide detective transferred from Auto, has a three year old daughter, drives a Jeep Cherokee, separated from husband, graduated college in three years, boxer, father was a cop, attended Temple, older brother died in Kuwait while in the Marines, attended Nazarene Catholic High School in Philly
Simon Edward Close: 32, born in Northumberland, father was abusive and mother apathetic, reporter the tabloid The Report, attended Luzerne County Community College, wrote freelance music and film reviews, smokes, drives an Accord, uses escort services, owns a cat
Terry Pacek: Monsignor, 5’11”, mid forties, athletic build, politically minded when it comes to the church’s reputation, played football at Boston College
Very good depth of characters. I wanted to see a little more of Pacek’s involvement, but the story is basically about Byrne and Balzano. I like their quirks (she’s a boxer; he has flash images associated with migraine). They’re not just typical homicide partners.
Fairly standard. Police procedural type conversations. Good voices. Good emotions displayed through dialogue.
Book is divided into Parts and chapter headings list day and time. Third person narrative with scenes of first person from killer’s POV. Short chapters. Very little profanity for a book of this type and I didn’t miss it. The graphic nature of the crimes is very well portrayed. Not gore for gore’s sake but there is no doubt as the condition of the bodies. A lot of back and forth scenes between Byrne and Balzano. The subplots didn’t distract but rather added to the depth of the story. I recommend this book for mystery fans who like a little extra.