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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 23 November 2004
I DID find myself page turning on this one as there was a deadline for murder! It was good, but still not believable really as the dialogue was still a bit un-real and the characters still not identifiable as normal people.
It was a good book to while away the hours but a book in which you forget all about the plot just a few days after you've read it. A good money earner for Alex Kava but not a mainstay in thriller fiction by any means! If you normally read Ruth Rendell or P.D.James don't buy this book, unless you want a rest from cerebral thrillers. This is a 'Thriller for the masses.'
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on 9 June 2013
Another fantastic book from the Maggie O'Dell series. Couldn't put it down. A fast read. Would suggest to anyone starting out with Alex Kava to start at the beginning of the Maggie O'Dell series and read in order as the characters grow with each book and although the author brilliantly mentions previous books within the story, if you have read the previous books it is easier to understand. The book series IN ORDER are A PERFECT EVIL, SPLIT SECOND, THE SOUL CATCHER, AT THE STROKE OF MADNESS, A NECESSARY EVIL, EXPOSED, BLACK FRIDAY, DAMAGED, HOTWIRE, FIREPROOF, STRANDED. She has also written two standalone books One False Move and Whitewash. Happy reading.
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on 16 October 2014
The fourth Maggie O'Dell book - loved the first, wasn't so keen on the next two, but this one is back up there, though I'm still awaiting the wow factor the first book showed the potential to bring.

This one wasn't quite as scary for those who don't like that sort of thing and it felt quite short. Alex Kava doesn't seem to want to continue much into the personal life of Agent O'Dell and Nick Morelli didn't feature whatsoever for the second time. In fact, it looks as though there may be someone else in the pipeline.

Personal stuff aside, I liked the plot, even if I did guess whodunnit on their first entrance into the story. Lots of characters, all linking up in various ways and you have to concentrate at the beginning to remember who is who. Maggie does go off on her own a bit and get herself into dangerous situations - which I'm sure wouldn't really happen - but if you can suspend belief a bit it's a good, fast read. I liked the introduction of Luc Racine, Julia's ailing father, and the set-up for more intertwining of Maggie and Julia's difficult relationship. Thankfully Maggie's mother didn't feature at all in this one - she's annoying!

This would work fine as a standalone if you haven't read the others in the series.

I will definitely will be reading the next one, A Necessary Evil....the titles of this series are driving me mad. When I am queen I shall ban authors using the same word twice in the titles of their books!
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on 13 February 2011
I was lying in bed and when i finished reading it i was stunned and i shouted wow! my partner was next to me snoring!
This book is full of twists and turns until the very end, your be amazed.
Alex kava is excellent!
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on 7 August 2014
Maggie gets drawn into investigating a serial killer whilst she is looking for a missing patient for one of her friends. They suspect that the person she had arranged to meet may well be the serial killer. Will Maggie find her, will she be another victim.
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on 3 June 2014
As usual Kava's O'Dell series is readable and enjoyable. The characters individual story lines continue to be developed whilst they pursue a serial killer. Not the best in the series but a good read.
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VINE VOICEon 17 June 2008
This is the 4th installment in Alex Kavas Maggie O'Dell series. Ive found that this series is a bit up and down with some really good, gripping reads and some books that just fall flat. Unfortunately 'At the Stroke of Madness' falls into the latter.
It's quite a short book and there really doesnt seem to be too much character development. It seemed to completely rull out Julia Racine who was introduced in the last book. The plot was a bit flimsy and the bad guy was a tad predictable.
However as always Alex kept the pages turning and her chapters are short just like they are in her previous novels. It's worth reading as part of the series but I wouldnt recommend it for just a standalone read, which is unfortunate because she's shown that she's capable of some really gripping reads.
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on 4 May 2008
This is the fourth book I have read by Alex Kava. It is easily the worst. I knew the killer less than a third through the book. The characters were unreal and the victim so stupid that you just have no sympathy to waste on her. Not that the detectives were any cleverer. It was extremely frustrating as I constantly had the urge to slap the characters in the book, just as well I only wasted 4 hours reading it.
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on 13 June 2013
Very good storyline, very much like the earlier Maggie O'Dell books I have read. However she has included the f swear word, unnecessary, her writing and stories do not need it
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on 28 January 2015
Yet another great read from alex kava with The Maggie odell series....I'm hoping all the books are available on the kindle or I might have to go on a book finding trip.
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