by Mariah Stewart

June 2004
ISBN: 0-345-46393-5
Reviewer Graphic Button Ballantine Books
Mass Market Paperback

Three prisoners are at the courthouse for appearances when another prisoner makes an escape attempt. The three prisoners are taken to a room and held together while all available police personnel look for the escaped man. Having nothing to do but wait Vince Giordano, Archer Lowell and Curtis Channing begin discussing the circumstances that led them to prison. Before long they are making lists of people they would “off” if they had the chance. Each person switches his list with another prisoner and when they are free each person will “take care of” the list he now has. It would be the perfect crime, as no one would suspect the person who does the crime and the person who would have motive would have a solid alibi. Boy that would be a fun game the prisoners decide. But it’s just a game they make clear.

Amanda Crosby and Derek England are joint owners of an antique store. Derek and his lover Clark have just returned from a trip abroad. During the trip Derek has used most of the shops working capital to purchase an antique goblet. It turns out the goblet is stolen property and Amanda is furious with Derek. She leaves a message on his answering machine that they need to talk and indicates that she is mad enough to kill him. It seems that Derek has purchased questionable items in the past and not learned from his mistakes.

Arriving home late at night Derek gets Amanda’s message and returns her call. He wants to meet in the morning but she insists they need to talk now. He agrees to meet her at her house and leaves his house around 10:30 pm but never arrives at Amanda’s

The next morning Derek is found shot to death in his car and Amanda becomes the number one suspect.

Sean Mercer is the police chief in charge of the investigation. He initially suspects Amanda and in fact she is his only suspect. As Mercer learns more about Amanda he learns that some months earlier she was the victim of a stalker who is now behind bars. He also learns that Amanda has begun to get strange phone calls and gifts left for her again. The incidents are strangely similar to Amanda’s stalker’s actions. When another person close to Amanda turns up dead Mercer begins to think there might be a connection and he is soon wondering if Amanda might be the next target.

The second book is Mariah Stewart’s “Dead” trilogy, Dead Certain is every bit as suspenseful and entertaining as the first. Stewart gives her readers compelling characters and page turning suspense that have made an author at the top of her game. What makes this story all the more frightening is that it could happen. Ms Stewart creates some truly creepy villains in her books. Dead Certain is another winner and I am anxiously awaiting the third book Dead Even out soon.

Reviewed in July 2004 by Barbara.

Read more reviews of Mariah Stewart books.Click Here