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The Red Scream (Molly Cates #1)

3.81  ·  Rating Details  ·  473 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
In her latest, hard-hitting novel of suspense, award-winning writer Mary Willis Walker introduces a gutsy new heroine - Texas-based crime reporter Molly Cates - and a chilling tale of violence and revenge. As The Red Scream begins, Molly has just published her first true crime book, which describes the blood-curdling exploits of serial killer Louie Bronk. Now Louie is on d ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published June 1st 1995 by Crimeline (first published July 1st 1994)
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The Black Echo by Michael ConnellyThe Spy Who Came In from the Cold by John le CarréThe Day of the Jackal by Frederick ForsythEye of the Needle by Ken FollettIn the Woods by Tana French
Edgar Award Winners
55th out of 83 books — 127 voters
Tremolo by Aaron Paul LazarMurder at the Vicarage by Agatha ChristieFront Page Fatality by LynDee WalkerThe Deep End by Julie MulhernDiners, Dives & Dead Ends by Terri L. Austin
Amateur Detective
119th out of 260 books — 99 voters

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Community Reviews

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Several years ago I read "Under the Beetle's Cellar", not realizing it was actually the second in the Molly Cates series. This first book is just as good as I remember that one being, a suspenseful story, well drawn and likeable characters, and a many-layered plot. I hope this author adds to the series, as I think there are only three books so far.
Oct 15, 2009 Jon rated it liked it
I very much agree with Nikki that this is a well-written book: the author has a gift for creating real characters (at least the main ones) who behave like real people. She also has a fine ability to render impressions and thoughts in a believable way, while raising serious moral and ethical questions and giving a fair hearing to multiple sides. But I couldn't help feeling that this was a serious mainstream novel trapped uncomfortably inside a "thriller" body. It had all the earmarks of a thrille ...more
Elizabeth Hasty
Dec 05, 2008 Elizabeth Hasty rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
The Red Scream is about a investigative reporter named Molly Cates. It is based on the mass murderer Louis Bronk, murdered and scalped over 30 women in the 1970s -1980s. Just when it looks like the murder of an upper class wife and mother is put to rest it is brought back up with the thought that Bronk might not of acutally killed her. This causes many suspitions and problems for Molly. While all this is happening she is getting threatening poems saying that if she continues with the investigat ...more
Kirsty Darbyshire
Reporter Molly Cates has spent eleven years following the case of serial killer Louie Bronk who is about to be executed by the state of Texas. She's just published a book all about him and is ready for the final chapter in the story.

Nothing is that simple in fiction though. The title of this excellent book refers to the phenomenom of death row prisoners having a "red scream" in their final days where they protest their innocence. I don't want to give away too much of the plot here because Louie

Mar 16, 2010 David rated it liked it
Shelves: completed
Molly Cates just had her bestselling true crime book published. She plans to cover the execution of its subject, seriel killer Louie Bronk. Then, a copycat killer (or is it the original killer) strikes again- hitting the same family a second time. Molly begins to investigate as Louie tells her that he did the other murders, but the one he is being invetigated for he is not guilty of.. He provides her clues and leads that may prove his innocence.

Molly struggles with the moral upheaval she feels.
Aug 13, 2013 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes contemporary mysteries
Recommended to Mary by: Library Book Sale
Texas-based crime reporter Molly Cates has just published her first book, describing the blood-curdling exploits of serial killer Louie Bronk. Now on death row, Louie's sentence is about to be carried out and Molly will be present as a witness. She wants to write about it - the final coda to Louie's story.

But suddenly, she's being strongly discouraged by her boss at The Lone Star Monthly and by a multi-millionaire real estate developer to not continue with her writing. Charlie McFarland - the
Reading all the Edgar Best Novels has introduced me to a number of authors whose works I had either avoided or been unaware of -- which was part of the reason I decided to do it. Mary Willis Walker, who sadly for me has only written a few books so far, is one of those. Maybe it was the three names, which I associate with old-school types like Doris Miles Disney and Mary Roberts Rinehart, but I'd never considered picking up one of Willis Walker's books before.

Protagonist Molly Cates is a crime r
Mary Beth
Mar 27, 2015 Mary Beth rated it liked it
I really liked this book right up to the end. I felt it left out too many key things in the conclusion. The action was great, but then it just ended with no explanation.
Feb 26, 2015 David rated it really liked it
Very good although a little dated in ways. I might be being too critical. I will read the next in the series right away if that says anything about how this author suits me.
Charles Kerns
Feb 15, 2016 Charles Kerns rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good writing. About nastiness. Tight action. Great characters. Nasty, though. May bail on the rest. I don't need serial killers in my dreams.
Feb 07, 2016 Michele rated it it was amazing
I love this author. She writes a good mystery/thriller with terrific plot, great characters and good writing.
In my own tradition, another book read while visiting its setting (in this case, Austin). The plot here has momentum; the main character, a middle-aged crime writer embroiled in the resurrection of a serial killer case she wrote the book on, finds her stubborn independent streak and tenaciousness (as is often the case) both her greatest asset and worst liability. The writing is decent with a few very nice turns of phrase, touches in places on the ethics of the death penalty, and goes a bit farth ...more
Valdemar Bahena
Feb 26, 2016 Valdemar Bahena rated it it was ok
this is not a bad book. but it is defenetely mot a bout a hannibal like serial killer. booooo for the cover lavel.
Jul 26, 2014 Mam rated it really liked it
Not a perfect book, but I enjoyed the characters and the setting in Austin and other Texas cities.
Jan 03, 2015 Stephen rated it liked it
Reasonably good mystery of the standard form. A good light read.
Jun 24, 2011 Hannah rated it liked it
This is not a book I would normally pick up to read, and in fact I started it because it was the only book around, but I am so glad I did. I'd forgotten how much I love a good thriller/mystery. The characterization was okay, a little thin in the case of Molly, and I didn't understand her motive to get back together with her ex-husband, except because he was there. That said, she did take to the time to give Louie Bronk some incredibly creepy and well written poems which began each chapter with a ...more
Mar 17, 2013 Tracy rated it liked it
Considering this was only the author's second book, it was really good. There were some redundencies that I would have removed. There were also a few uses of the "n" word that were completely unnecessary. That same section seemed a bit racist to me, too.

Overall, though, I liked the protagonist, and I liked how the author took a definite stand against the death penalty.

For some reason, though, this author quit publishing after her third book came out, which is a real shame for readers.
Aug 14, 2008 LJ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Walker, Mary Willis - 1st in Mollie Cates series

In a macabre gesture, Louis Bronk, a.k.a. the Texas Scalper, has invited journalist for Lone Star Monthly, Molly Cates, to his lasts days on Earth. Molly gets pressure to back off the story. Then comes a chilling message and another dead body. And Molly has to face the fact that Bronk may be executed for the wrong reason--and she may be the next victim.

1995 Top Read - This was EXCELLENT!
Jan 29, 2014 Kathleen rated it it was amazing
Cassettes in 1996.
Nelly Smith
Jul 22, 2015 Nelly Smith rated it liked it
Good writing, good story.
Aug 16, 2009 Jim rated it liked it
I have no idea where this book came from. It was in a drawer in my night stand. I guess this is the first time I've read something like this by a female author. Too much time describing emotional connections between characters and when menopause was mentioned, I knew this just wasn't my cup of tea.
Joe O'c
Aug 25, 2009 Joe O'c rated it liked it
Very Good; Continuing character: crime reporter Molly Cates (first in series); in her first case, Cates attempts to determine if man on death row or someone else killed rich Texas woman.
Renee Pawlish
Aug 15, 2011 Renee Pawlish rated it it was amazing
It's been a long time since I read this, but it was a wonderful book. It was suspenseful, with well-rounded characters. I love Mary Willis Walker. I wish she would publish more books.
Jul 20, 2009 Alvin rated it it was amazing
Love this book. It's so well written and atmospheric. Transports you with a very strong voice and sense of suspense. Intricit story with engaging characters.
Sep 16, 2012 Jo rated it really liked it
Enjoyed this book, partly because of its setting in the Austin area. I am looking forward to reading Under the Beetles Cellar, by Walker, next.
Jan 01, 2009 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
read and enjoyed. Main character is a Crime Writer. Set in Austin and plays true--author lives here and really knows Austin. Good Story.
Nov 03, 2007 peg rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most suspensful books I have ever read. It kept me on the edge of my seat.
May 04, 2016 Nel rated it really liked it
Anxious to read the next two in the series!
Greg Gleason
Jun 13, 2012 Greg Gleason rated it liked it
Decent story with a weak ending
Jan 03, 2010 Julie rated it really liked it
so far pretty darn good!
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Mary Willis Walker is the author of Zero at the Bone, which won both the Agatha and Macavity awards and was nominated for an Edgar; The Red Scream, winner of the Edgar Award; and Under the Beetle's Cellar, recipient of the Hammett Prize, the Anthony Award, and the Macavity Award. She lives in Austin, Texas, where she is now at work on her fifth novel.
More about Mary Willis Walker...

Other Books in the Series

Molly Cates (3 books)
  • Under the Beetle's Cellar
  • All the Dead Lie Down

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