Dead Hunt: A Diane Fallon Forensic Investigation
by Beverly Connor
Review by Beth Slater
Signet Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451223517
Date: 05 February 2008 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Forensic anthropologist Dr. Diane Fallon is back with another twisted adventure involving her beloved RiverTrail Museum of Natural History, of which she is the director. Right now there is a lot keeping her busy -- most prominent is the lead story in the local paper about one of her employees, assistant director Kendel Williams, dealing in stolen antiquities through museum channels. But in the middle of that fire is an incarcerated felon (Clymene O'Reily) asking Diane, who helped ensure Clymene's conviction, to help save the life of a prison guard -- a felon who is convicted of killing her husband and suspected of much worse. When Clymene escapes prison shortly after Diane's visit, all eyes turn to Diane. Did she help the serial killer, or is she about to become her next victim?
Though small, the museum is teeming with activities from the employees -- museum and crime lab. Yes, crime lab. Diane is also the director of the crime scene unit for the area, whose labs are housed within the museum, as well. While her specialty is bones, her reputation for detective work has preceded her, and this time she's teaming up with FBI profiler Ross Kingsley in the search for Clymene's past –- a past that the chameleon-like criminal has managed to keep under wraps. Using her know-how in forensics and anthropology, Diane and Ross managed to dig up more than a few secrets – but can they do it without ending up like the fossils in the museum?
Diane should take up juggling, because it seems that is all she does in this book; and she does it well. Handling the FBI concerning the lost felon while dealing with the FBI agents investigating the stolen artifacts is confusing enough; but add apartment troubles and secret poisonings into the mix with several irate and outspoken members of the museum board, and one is never sure where the story is heading next.
I had forgotten how much I enjoyed Connor's work, and I hope that won't happen next time. Fallon is an excellent, well-rounded protagonist whose life is somewhat on the hectic side, but never dull. There seems to be some stretching to get the small museum in on the crimes, but Connor has created something of a unique situation to keep the series alive. This is a great mystery with suspense, a little romance, and forensics all between the pages.