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One Grave Less: A Diane Fallon Forensic Investigation by Beverly Connor
Review by Mel Jacob
Signet Mass Market Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451231802
Date: 07 December 2010 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

A massacre several years ago in Peru causes murders and slander to pursue Diane Fallon in Beverly Connor's novel One Grave Less, the ninth Diane Fallon Forensic Investigation. It also took the life of Ariel, Diane's adopted daughter. Diane searched for her, unwilling to accept the child's death until illness forced her to stop.

Now, Diane heads a prosperous museum and is planning to marry her lover Frank, a detective in the Fraud and Computer Forensic Unit in Atlanta. Checking a new exhibit area, she stumbles on an injured man and calls for help. Seeing more blood near an inner door, she investigates only to discover another body, a former colleague from Peru. The injured woman lapses into unconsciousness, but mumbles the message, 'It was one of us,' first.

Rumors surface about Diane and drug smuggling, and emails are sent to male members of the museum's board suggesting assignations. Her former boss in Peru is accused of soliciting prostitutes and another colleague is also rumored to have aided the drug smuggling.

Meanwhile, Lindsay Chamberlain, a forensic archaeologist, is mistaken for Diane and kidnapped in Peru. Beaten and held prisoner in a jungle village. A young child frees her from the cage, and they escape into the surrounding jungle. The little girl claims to be Diane's daughter. They fear capture and travel as fast and as far as they can on foot until they commandeer a truck.

An Interpol warrant is issued for Diane accusing her of four murders in Brazil. Fortunately, she has an alibi provided by the Rosewood Chief of Police. With so much occurring in a short period of time, the rumors of drugs are discounted. The presence of a paramilitary squad ups the stakes and threatens Diane, those she loves, and the museum. To find the person responsible and stop the killings, Diane must learn who engineered the massacre in Peru and why.

Personally, I enjoyed the parts of the novel featuring Lindsay/Maria. Initially, in the beginning sections with Diane, Connor holds the reader at arm's length. Diane is smart, but doesn't come across as a real human being. However, by the end, her grief and fears make her human. A rousing climax leads to a satisfying conclusion that owes a bit to the Wizard of Oz.

Connor has two separate mystery series: Diane Fallon Forensic Investigations and Lindsay Chamberlain. With both series active, readers can find more Connor's mysteries to enjoy.

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