A MAGGIE O'DELL NOVEL
BY ALEX KAVA
On Pensacola Beach, the Coast Guard prepares for a Category 5 hurricane that has entered the Gulf of Mexico. When the air crew patrols the waterways, they spot a huge fishing cooler about a mile offshore. Drug traffickers have been known to dump coolers with smuggled product to avoid detection and pay fishermen to retrieve them. But when the crew open this cooler, they’re shocked by what they find: body parts tightly wrapped in plastic.
Though she is putting herself in the projected path of the hurricane, Special Agent Maggie O’Dell is sent to investigate. Eventually, she’s able to trace the torso in the cooler back to a man who mysteriously disappeared weeks earlier after a hurricane hit Port St. Lucie, Florida. Only Port St. Lucie is on the Atlantic side. How did his body end up six hundred miles away in the Gulf of Mexico?
Cliffhanger chapters, behind-the-scenes forensic details, colorful characters, and satisfying twists have become the trademarks of Kava’s psychological thrillers. In Damaged, she ratchets up the suspense a notch by sending Maggie into the eye of an impending monster hurricane to track down a killer.
ALEX KAVA’s two stand-alone novels and seven novels featuring FBI profiler Maggie O’Dell have been published in more than twenty countries, appearing on the bestseller lists in Britain, Australia, Poland, Germany, and Italy. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. Alex divides her time between Omaha, Nebraska, and Pensacola, Florida.
Alex Kava’s DAMAGED is another thriller built around the adventures of FBI Profiler Maggie O’Dell which is this time set along the Florida coast. With a hurricane heading toward the peninsula, and its first waves stirring the sea into a frenzy and beginning to pound the shoreline, the Coast Guard Commander orders a crewmate to dive in to investigate what looks like a floating cooler. Liz Bailey accepts and completes her dangerous task only to find a human foot inside.
Here is where Maggie O’Dell comes in as she is called to come investigate the gruesome findings and just as the wind picks up, so does the action. With her is the Department of Homeland Security Deputy Director, Charlie Wurth. When their forensics team finds that the foot belonged to a Vince Coffland, they also learn that he had disappeared during another hurricane from Port St. Lucie which is along the coast…on the east side of the state meaning the body part came all around the peninsula to wind up on the west coast of Florida? Meanwhile, Colonel Benjamin Platt, Maggie O’Dell’s boyfriend, is also in Florida investigating a case where soldiers in hospitals are dying from some kind of mysterious bacterial infection. Maggie and Benjamin find themselves together, under very odd circumstances, as their two cases have a great deal in common. Maggie is trying to find out about a missing body part and Platt about his bacterial death mystery when both point to the funeral parlor owned by Scott Larsen who just happens to be Maggie’s brother-in-law! It gets even more interesting when they find that a certain Joe Black has been paying him to harvest body parts at the funeral home. If all of that isn’t enough, the hurricane is now a very real threat as it bears down on them and as it closes in, the cases do as well!
Readers should enjoy the cliff-hangers though out the story that keep you reading that “one more chapter”. Although O’Dell has been in a series of Kava’s novels, and it is nice if some background is known, it isn’t necessary as this little thriller stands tall on its own. It is a quick read (for one reason because you can’t put it down) and all the surprises begin to look more like the swirling eye of the hurricane than a normal mystery twister. As the storm threatens, readers are washed away with an ending most don’t see coming. Kava’s descriptive narrative holds the reader’s attention and the characters are fleshed out nicely so that you care about them. I, for one, know I will be looking for more of her work and especially the Maggie O’Dell series.
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