Trip Wire: A Cook County Mystery
Charlotte Carter
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Buy *Trip Wire: A Cook County Mystery* by Charlotte Carter online

Trip Wire: A Cook County Mystery
Charlotte Carter
192 pages
March 2005
rated 4 of 5 possible stars
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Itís Chicago 1968, following the assassination and the Democratic convention. A multi-racial group of kids living in a commune are shocked into reality when two of their own end up brutally murdered in an empty apartment in their building.

Cassandra Perry, a curvy, strong-minded young black woman, found the bodies of her semiconscious idol, Mia, and her wanna-be boyfriend, Wilton. The daughter of a small-time gangster much too smart to only sit in a room passing a joint around decides to use her brains to figure out who killed her friends and disrupted the Shangri-La she and her friends had created.

This book read like a diary and simply has to be read to the end. The characterization throughout the story is wonderful; I felt as if Cassandra was me on so many levels but, thankfully, not on others (seriously, can people just sit in a room smoking weed every single day?). Plenty of twists and turns make the revelation of the killerís identity at the end truly shocking.

Sometimes in mysteries, the author is not battling others writer past and present but is in fact involved in an unspoken battle of wits with her readers. The rules are that enough clues be laid down for only the smartest of readers to discern "who done it." Not enough, and the author is cheating; too many, and the author is not writing well.

Carter straddles the line. She lays a thin trail between the killer and the victim and, like an older sibling teasing a slower, younger one with candy, barely shows us the reason before snatching it away to distract us with something else. I like the trick, but I know others may not be so pleased.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Kim Lightfoot, 2006

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