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A perfect evil


Publication Information:
Don Mills, Ont., Canada : MIRA Books, ©2000.
Physical Description:
377 pages ; 25 cm
Series title(s):
Number in series:
Still reeling from the effects of her last case, FBI profiler Maggie O'Dell arrives in Platte City, Nebraska determined to help catch a potential copycat kidnapper who murders young boys.


Call Number

On Order



Still reeling from effects of her last case, FBI profiler Maggie O'Dell arrives in Platte City, Nebraska determined to help catch a potential copycat kidnapper who murders young boys.

Author Notes

Alex Kava is a member of the Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. She writes novels in the psychological thriller genre. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska with her two dogs Miss Molly and Scout. She writes a bestselling FBI profiler series which includes her character Maggie O'Dell.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

A serial killer eludes an FBI profiler and a smalltown Nebraska sheriff in Kava's engaging debut, which manages to remain entertaining despite a fairly conventional plot line. As the story opens, recently appointed Sheriff Nick Morelli is as relieved as the rest of the citizens of Platte City that his predecessor, who also happens to be his father, has captured the child killer who plagued the town. But after the killer is executed, another child is discovered dead, and Morelli realizes that the convicted man was in fact a copycat killer, leaving the original criminal still on the prowl. Morelli gets some much-needed help in the investigation from FBI profiler Maggie O'Dell, but the hunt gets complicated when Morelli's sister, a journalist, leaks info to the media. Things become even stickier when O'Dell unearths a couple of unlikely suspects who've been dismissed by the police, and the search takes on a new level of urgency when Morelli's nephew is abducted and appears to be the next victim. Kava keeps her prose simple, but she does a nice job of setting up the chemistry between O'Dell and Morelli while balancing the various family issues Morelli faces in the investigation. She also makes good use of the smalltown milieu, tightening the tension by establishing that the killer is part of the fabric of the community. The result is a well-crafted page-turner involving the reader in the specter of murder in an intimate and disturbing fashion, with a plausible setup for a sequel. Agent, Philip Spitzer. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Kirkus Review

Three months after putting a particularly vicious serial killer to death, a Nebraska sheriff's department faces a new string of child murders that suggest they may have executed the wrong man. The optimistic take on this new development would be that the latest two deaths are only copycat killings. Reading over Ronald Jeffreys's trial transcript, though, Nick Morrelli, the Harvard-educated lawyer who all but inherited the sheriff's job from his masterful father, realizes the picture is much darker. Jeffreys admitted killing one of the three victims--the one whose crime scene least fit the pattern of the others, a pattern that's continued with the abductions of Danny Alverez and Matthew Tanner. And the profile that visiting FBI expert Maggie O'Dell has drawn up doesn't resemble Jeffreys nearly as well as several well-respected citizens of Platte City. But since the whole town is in denial, certain that Jeffreys was the perp, and since his own sister, fledgling reporter Christine Hamilton, has suddenly grown so ambitious that she's constantly embarrassing him in press conferences and in print, what can Nick do? Well, since his bulging muscles are an impressive complement to the unsuitably married Maggie's shapely legs, he can fall for her. (So much for the promise of hard-nosed forensic detail.) Meantime, since Christine's the single mother of a ten-year-old son, she can descend into her own hell when he becomes the kidnapper's latest victim. (So much for the career woman's dream of having it all.) And readers enticed with the sulfur-and-brimstone promise of a new Hannibal Lecter will have to make do with a monster as unbelievable as he is unsurprising. First-timer Kava obviously knows the small-town milieu she writes about, though you have to wonder if the men in the real Nebraska are quite as uniformly brutish as in her world. Perhaps the biggest of many disappointments here is that they can't all get convicted of murder. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Library Journal Review

Kava's debut thriller borrows bits and pieces from other novels: a little Silence of the Lambs here, a dash of Kiss the Girls there. The result is uneven but indicative of better things to come once Kava does his research a little better and cuts back on some of the purple prose. Research problems? Well, it is doubtful that a small Nebraska town would have a radio station with the call letters KRAP, and the Strategic Air Command disappeared more than a decade ago. But the story still manages to hold a listener's interest. An FBI profiler and the town sheriff are brought together after a string of brutal murders of young boys. The female profiler has had experience with a similar killer who is now in jail (or is he?), and the sheriff knows that he got his job only because his father had been a well-loved law officer (or was he?). The red herrings abound in A Perfect Evil, but true aficionados of thrillers will have figured out who the killer is halfway through the story. And speaking of KRAP, this cassette came in the worst casing this reviewer has ever encountered: the cover shatters like glass, and trying to fit the tapes back into their respective slots gives figuring out the Rubik's Cube a run for its money. Still, it's a promising first novel and should be popular in most audio collections. The narrator, Richard Rohan, does voices well and manages to keep up the pace of the story even when the text slacks a little. Joseph L. Carlson, Lompoc P.L., CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.