by Maggie Shayne

October 2001
ISBN: 0-515-13167-9
Reviewer Graphic Button Jove Books
Mass Market Paperback

You have to love an author who can combine the most chilling realities of life with the most thrilling events. Maggie Shayne has created a book that goes beyond romance. If you pick up The Gingerbread Man, be ready to think and be ready to deal with the horrors that life can bestow.

The sleepy town of Dilmun, NY has a pedophile in their midst. But no one but the monster himself knows who he is. And he's not telling. What he is doing is stalking his next victim and only the memories of two women can catch him.

Holly Newman is, as Detective Vincent O'Mally say, the KEY. Inside her mind are clues that will lead them to the man behind the deaths of over fifteen children. But who in Dilmun, the town known for never having anything bad happen, would commit such heinous crimes, such atrocities? No one knows, but Vince is determined to find out. He's risking all to solve a case he's already been taken off. But after seeing the latest victims, he has no choice but to follow his instincts and do what he can to stop the fiend.

The entire town thinks of Holly Newman as fragile. After the taking [disappearance?] of her sister, Ivy, when she was a child, Holly has been steps away from insanity. To combat the pain her entire life is one great big schedule - from getting up in the morning to the order in which she turns on the lights at work. She's doing her best to cope and put her sister's death behind her. But O'Mally comes to town and shakes things up. And although she's attracted to the bleak eyed detective, she can't allow him to interfere with her precisely structured existence.

Vince is drawn to damsels in distress. He always has been. It is in fact the bane of his existence. So the last thing he wants to feel are stirrings of desire for this obviously needy woman. But Holly is stronger than either she or the rest of Dilmun thinks. And as more is uncovered about her sister's kidnapping, she realizes that it's time to stop hiding from the world.

Maggie Shayne has a way with words that puts you right in the thick of things. And The Gingerbread Man is no different. Holly and Vince are people to root for, cry for and laugh with. Their sorrows and joys are yours to share. I had tears streaming down my face before this book was over and anyone with a heart will too. This book kept me up all night, unable to put it down. One more chapter just never seemed enough; the time flew by and when I finished I was satisfied that justice had been done and all that needed a happy ending had gotten one.

Maggie Shayne has taken a plot and woven it into a romantic suspense with enough turns and twists to keep you guessing and enough romance to satisfy. She's built a strong foundation for the relationship created in this book and you get to see the bad guy smashed in the head with a tire iron. How much better can it get?

Reviewed in December 2001 by JaToya.

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