Dead Connection Review
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Law enforcement was one of the last careers that Ellie Hatcher thought she’d ever choose. The daughter of a slain homicide detective in Wichita, Kansas, Ellie was soured by how little the police department took care of their own. However, after moving to New York, Ellie became intrigued with the city. The darker, seedier side of life fascinated her. The desire to protect those who cannot protect themselves led her to take another look at the profession.

Now, after only thirteen months on the force, the NYPD junior detective has been assigned to the case of a lifetime. Amy Davis was found strangled after meeting a man through an Internet dating service called FirstDate. Exactly one year ago, Caroline Hunter, another client of FirstDate, was shot to death. Could this be the work of a serial killer? They soon learn that they won’t be waiting an entire year for the next victim.

  
 
Ellie and her partner, Flann McIlroy, try to obtain a list of men who contacted both women, but FirstDate denies their request, since privacy is of prime concern. The District Attorney’s office is also unwilling to issue a subpoena. Could someone in the department be trying to hinder the investigation? Left to her own devices, Ellie figures out the answer to Amy’s security questions, and she’s able to obtain her FirstDate password. As a single woman in her ‘30s who’s endured many a lonely night, Ellie slowly becomes entranced by the whole Internet dating scene.

Through ballistics, Ellie and Flann discover that the gun used to kill Carolyn Hunter was also used to kill Tatiana Chekova, a Russian exotic dancer, about nine months earlier. Through further investigation, they find that there may be more involved than just a sadist who gets his thrills by murdering defenseless women. There are just enough differences to persuade them that the murders may be unrelated.

Dead Connection grabs your attention and never lets go. Infuriated ex-boyfriends, money laundering, credit card fraud, bad cops, and, yes, even psychotic killers could lead to possible motives for the murders. With so many possibilities, the story could have lead readers to scratch their heads in confusion. Instead, just when you pause to retrace your steps, the characters remind you of what’s occurred so far, helping to bring you back to the relevant points. Author Alafair Burke, a former deputy district attorney, methodically captivates you through this thriller, making it difficult to put down.

I hope to see more of Ellie Hatcher in subsequent novels. The intelligent yet vulnerable Nutella-devouring woman who can hold her whiskey is an interesting character—and she clearly has a lot more adventure in her.

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