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2.7 out of 5 stars
2.7 out of 5 stars
A Shot in the Dark
Format: Kindle Edition|Change

on 9 March 2011
This mystery has most all of the things I like in a good read. The plot moves along at a quick pace. There are numerous characters (suspects). The clues are plentiful and intriguing. It also avoids most of the things I dislike in mysteries. There is no overt violence or foul language. The main character does not find herself in mortal jeopardy on every other page (in fact, she never really is in jeopardy at all--remarkable!). The whole story treats the reader as a participant in the crime-solving--a wonderful way to feel when reading a mystery.

The tale starts out quickly with the murder of a local woman who works at a convenience store. The police soon arrest a young man seen exiting the store with her on the surveillance tape. The young man, it turns out, is a college student and volunteer at a campus rape crisis center which is run by Tracy, also a college professor--and the book's protagonist. Tracy cannot believe that the young man (Eric) could commit such a horrendous crime and she quickly enlists the aid of her friends and a local lawyer to assist in his defense. The lawyer agrees to take the case only if Tracy and company will assist with the investigation, believing that the only way to exonnerate Eric is to prove who really killed the woman. The rest of the book details their efforts in tracking down the killer and the reader gets to follow their efforts.

I was completely engaged in the investigation conducted by Tracy and her friends. The clues are judiciously placed and clever. The suspects are plentiful and all have realistic motives (the victim was not a nice person). Probably the only critique I have is that Tracy's role as a college professor is presented in a rather unbelievable fashion. She spends an inordinate amount of time grading papers compared to the amount of time she spends actually teaching. Although she is a full professor (it seems) she apparently has no job security at all(tenure) and fears losing her job because of her involvement with the investigation (highly unlikely). I'm guessing the author just arbitrarily chose "college professor" as an occupation for Tracy because it seemed to fit with her volunteer role as a rape counsellor. However, I was able to overlook these deficiencies because the rest of the book was so gripping and reads so well.

Patricia Rockwell
Author--"Sounds of Murder" and "FM For Murder"
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on 16 February 2011
I stayed with this book until the end, although there were pages that I skipped, especially chapter 25 when two or more pages are devoted to a character sorting and packing away documents ( which are nothing to do with the plot) before having to leave the office. Too much time is spent in describing the preparation of food, making coffee and consuming it; too much of the mundane day-to-day routine of life.

The basic plot is good. A group of friends working together to clear another of a murder charge. However in the telling of this there is no tension or excitment. No one is ever in any danger from the real murderer. I have to say that I will probably not read another novel by this author, until the writing tightens up considerably.
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on 28 January 2011
Tried really hard to stay with this but gave up reading it after about a third .

painful, too much repetition.
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