Paint It Black
P.J. Parrish
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Buy *Paint It Black* online

Paint It Black

P.J. Parrish
Pinnacle Books
411 pages
January 2002
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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If you enjoy a fast-paced thriller with an unexpected ending, Paint It Black is a must-read. Set in fictional Sereno Key, Florida, this novel starts in the action and ends in the action.

Louis Kincaidís police career is over. He doesnít want to play detective, but his friend is persuasive and Kincaid finds himself flying from Michigan to Florida to help his friend out. What he anticipates to simply involve interviewing the prime suspect in a murder case turns out to be anything but easy or straightforward. The dead manís wife is accused of murder; she says sheís innocent. Kincaid believes her. Unfortunately, part of his proof is another body showing up in the area that alarms police with its commonalities to the murdered husband. The prospect of a housewife being a serial murderer is ludicrous, but law enforcement can fit their theory to the circumstances.

The race is on to solve the mystery and find the serial killer before the body count gets any higher. The reader is allowed a first-person look into the killerís head, but even given this extra information, the solution and criminal are elusive. Whatís the connection between all the victims beside the method of their deaths? Is the housewife connected or not?

P. J. Parrish creates a modern thriller set in a vacation spot. Paint It Black has the power to enthrall the reader with its descriptions as well as strike fear in the reader with the realism of location and characters. The novel is fiction, but the people and places feel real. The insanity of the killer is palpable, the logic for the murders just out of reach.

The tension between Kincaid and the Sereno Key law enforcement staff he must work with jumps off the page. This wasnít supposed to be a long-term investigation. Kincaid doesnít want to be the cause of friction with local law enforcement, yet heís unable to walk away with the killer on the loose. Kincaidís past catches up with him. As much as he hoped he wouldnít have to relive the final episode that cost him his police career, Kincaid must face the past in order to survive.

A reader does not have to be familiar with other P.J. Parrish books to fully enjoy this novel. The author gives enough detail about the main characterís past to allow a first-time Parrish reader to have the full story. The story can be enhanced by knowing previous works, however.

Paint It Black is an excellent murder mystery thanks to perfect pacing and writing that leaves the ending a surprise until the very last page. Sereno Key may be a fictional Florida location but it feels real. Anyone familiar with the Gulf Coast will feel at home with the island, the people, the warm nights and the soft beach sand.

© 2003 by Lisa Haselton for Curled Up With a Good Book

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