Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Janson Mancheski's The Chemist ~ Reviewed
By: Janson Mancheski
Published by Bridgeway Books
“Theories abounded. Everything from cults to witchcraft covens, from serial kidnappings to random relocation from the area. Through it all, however, one troubling question remained. How could three healthy, drug-free women, along with their automobiles, vanish without a trace?”
Last spring, three girls went missing. Nothing linked the cases except a frustrating lack of clues or motive. Then, one of them turned up headless in Lake Michigan pumped full of date rape drugs. Detective Cale Van Waring doesn’t have proof, but he knows that girls are being abducted. Now, spring has returned, and so has Van Waring’s invisible kidnapper. Another girl is missing, but this time Van Waring finds a spotty trail. With his boss on his back and his girlfriend threatening to leave unless he commits, Van Waring struggles to put the pieces together before another girl ends up missing—or dead.
The book started with a bang and ended with one, too. In between lay a series of twists and turns that had me struggling to piece together the hows and whodunnits of this cop/thriller ride. I was particularly impressed with the ‘real’ feel of the police officers and their daily lives. Also of note was the obvious research that went into the scientific aspects of the story. Adding professional football players (Green Bay Packers) to the suspect list was a nice twist. This was a fast read, one that with few exceptions, kept me turning pages. Mancheski really cranked up the intensity, however, in the last quarter of the book. I stayed up late getting to the end.
Weaknesses lay in the dreaded sagging middle. While the story did not slow enough to make me stop reading, I did find myself anxious to move forward, to uncover new clues, or see some sort of unexpected twist. This was a minor flaw, however, in a relatively engaging novel that I’m happy to recommend.
Cautionary Note: Book contained some graphic details and language.
Reviewed by: Elizabeth Ludwig