Kathy 's Reviews > A Flame in the Wind of Death

A Flame in the Wind of Death by Jen J. Danna
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it was amazing

Jen J. Danna and Ann Vanderlaan have created a series that has proved its staying power with its third tale of Massachusetts State Police Trooper Leigh Abbott and forensic anthropologist Matt Lowell. A Flame in the Wind of Death is the second full-length book in the series, with the first being Dead Without a Stone to Tell It. No One Sees Me ‘Til I Fall was a novella in between last year’s debut novel and this April 2014 release. I am dazed by the flawless flow of these narratives.

Not wanting to play favorites, but having topics of particular interest, I must confess that A Flame in the Wind of Death captured me especially. It’s Salem, Massachusetts with Halloween on the doorstep, and a murderer strikes with a vengeance. When a fire in a Salem antique shop reveals grisly remains of a woman with ties to the Witchcraft community Abbott and Lowell have their work cut out for them in determining the victim's identity and finding the murderer. So, the setting and setup are perfect for a tale in which bones must talk and shadows must be chased. The pressure is on, as Salem prepares to welcome an outpouring of tourists on its busiest days of the year. When a second similar murder occurs without any obvious connection to the first, nerves quickly become frayed. Both murders are over the top, with the victims never having had a chance for survival. Someone has an axe to grind, and whether he or she is finished is anyone’s guess. Caught up in the intensity and pressure of the investigation, Abbott and Lowell aren’t finding much time for romance in their blossoming relationship, but then again, they are quite resourceful.

The forensics are fascinating in this latest addition to Abbott and Lowell, as all of this series deals with detailed forensics, not skimming the top, but delving into the intricacies of bone, muscle, tissue layers -- and, yet, in Matt breaking it down and explaining it to Leigh, the reader comes to understand, too. Never do the explanations outweigh the narrative of the story. They enrich it, cleverly woven into the narrative and ever moving Abbott and Lowell closer to solving the case. In A Flame in the Wind of Death, there is the additional element of fire and charred remains that add to the complexities of Matt Lowell’s job as a forensic anthropologist. It is through the examination and close scrutiny of the skeletal remains of the victims that answers will be found as to the final minutes of life and means of death, which cry out to be heard.

Beginning the chapters with a well-defined piece of the jargon used in the subject of the book, in this instance fires and fire fighting, greatly enhances the understanding of the action. The research on fires and fire fighting has been thoroughly conducted, and the reader can be assured of authenticity in the gripping storyline. Also, there is a conciseness of language to be enjoyed, use of the apposite word instead of a plethoric ramble. The authors are so adept at this practice that I can’t help but delight in such well-placed words.

The characters of this series are evolving at a steady pace in each novel, and the reader can’t help but feel a bond with not only Abbott and Lowell, but Matt’s forensic team as well. Then there is Matt’s father, the ME, and Leigh’s co-workers. All the characters are so well fleshed out, adding the familiarity and back story that readers crave and appreciate.

Sound structure, sound narrative, and sound writing. You don’t pay your nickel and take your chances with this series. You pay your nickel and get great reading.

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Reading Progress

November 18, 2013 – Shelved
November 18, 2013 – Shelved as: to-read
January 9, 2014 – Started Reading
January 11, 2014 – Finished Reading
February 15, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read

Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)

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message 1: by Dorie (new)

Dorie Thanks for the recommendation, Kathy. I love forensic mysteries and have never heard of this series. I'm putting the first on my TBR list.

Kathy Dorie wrote: "Thanks for the recommendation, Kathy. I love forensic mysteries and have never heard of this series. I'm putting the first on my TBR list."

Dorie, I hope you enjoy them as much as I am. The bone forensics is fascinating to me.

message 3: by Shelly (new) - added it

Shelly Vanderlaan Great reading!!!

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