Thursday, March 22, 2012

Damaged - Alex Kava

On Pensacola Beach, the Coast Guard prepares for a Category 5 hurricane that has entered the Gulf of Mexico. When the air crew patrols the waterways, they spot a huge fishing cooler about a mile offshore. Drug traffickers have been known to dump coolers with smuggled product to avoid detection and pay fishermen to retrieve them. But when the crew open this cooler, they're shocked by what they find: body parts tightly wrapped in plastic.

Though she is putting herself in the projected path of the hurricane, Special Agent Maggie O'Dell is sent to investigate. Eventually, she's able to trace the torso in the cooler back to a man who mysteriously disappeared weeks earlier after a hurricane hit Port St. Lucie, Florida. Only Port St. Lucie is on the Atlantic side. How did his body end up six hundred miles away in the Gulf of Mexico?

Alex Kava's Maggie O'Dell series is one I have followed faithfully for 7 books and was eager to get back to. Damaged is book number 8 and, sadly, became a disappointment when compared to some of the previous books...

Maggie is called to the Pensacola Bay after a container is found at sea filled with an assortment of human limbs. May a serial killer be on the loose? At the same time, her friend, Colonel Benjamin Platt is called to investigate the sudden death of several wounded soldiers that seem to have been infected with something.

I loved the first scene of the book. When the aircrew finds the container and discovers what it has inside. I thought it really promising but when Maggie O'Dell appears on the scene she seems a weaker character than in the previous books. I think Liz Bailey appeared as the stronger of the two.

Besides that the crimes weren't absorbing and suspenseful as they could be, and as Kava as done in other stories. The killer is obvious ever since he shows up but he behaves so naturally that instead of being horrified by what he was doing I was just curious about the why he was doing it. I think I would have liked a bit more suspense in this story.
I also felt that there were a few loose ends. For instance there's an explanation for the appearance of the container where it showed up but there's no mention from the killer to having lost it, or worry that it could be found. And we never find out what really happened to the man whose torso showed up on the container and his relationship with the killer...
Regarding O'Dell and Platt's relationship I don't feel that there's much chemistry between them. I remember when Morelli was on the scene and I kept waiting for the next book to see what was going to happen between them. I'm afraid I'm not as eager to see what is going to happen next with these two.

But I do hope Kava will be able to surprise me with the next book. I would sure like to read another winner!

Grade: 3/5

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