Review: Murder in Missoula by Laurence Giliotti


☆☆➹⁀☆ 4 stars☆➹⁀☆☆


What it’s about:

Retired federal agent Joe Nicoletti is ready for a change. He dreams of a simple life, far away from Washington, D.C., where every street corner reminds him of his dead wife.

When he is offered a faculty position at the University of Montana, he sees it as a dream come true. A chance to start over.

He never dreamed he would have a second chance at love. He never dreamed he would become the prime suspect in a high profile murder case. He never dreamed he would be forced to undertake the most important investigation of his life. But dreams can turn into nightmares when there is Murder In Missoula.

A novel of love and attraction, both normal and perverse, friendship, sacrifice, ambition, innocence, dreams as harbingers of events to come, telepathy, clairvoyance, fate and destiny. All wrapped in a fast paced novel of murder and suspense.


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Murder in Missoula by Laurence Giliotto is a police procedural thriller with little bit of a cozy mystery feel. The mystery of the serial killer is solved primarily by retired federal agent, Joe Nicoletti, who is visiting Missoula and gets sucked into the action through local politics and circumstantial evidence.

Murder in Missoula is a gripping mystery from the first page. The author has laced the story with a strong sense of foreboding from start to finish. Even though you can easily pick out the next victim, the how and why are surprising. The set-up of circumstantial evidence was not much of a red-herring, but it did serve to make me nervous for a well-liked character. Fortunately, not much of the story is devoted to this effort. I enjoyed knowing who the murderer is from the start and having the story focus on his motives and the efforts to catch him. I loved the use of alternating POVs; the diabolical killer as narrator is wicked fun, and knowing what he plans adds to the story tension.

Most of the characters are likable and relatable. I really enjoyed the analytical yet sensitive Joe Nicoletti and the wise, waiting-for-retirement Lenny Pandori. Chief Garland comes off as a self-centered aspiring politician at first, but when he starts worrying more about the murders and less about his political campaign, he becomes more empathetic. I found some character behavior perplexing. Marie Justine, who is afraid of her own shadow, leaves the house in the middle of the night. You know things aren’t going to end well, and you just can’t figure out the motivation for the behavior (other than the necessity to move the story along). Anne, knowing that she is probably a target, defies orders from the police and her good sense to leave her safe house on her own. Yes, it moves the story along, but it is hard to imagine these otherwise smart women behaving so rashly.

Murder in Missoula has a good premise, a strong plot, and interesting characters, all of which make for a riveting read.

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