Attending the Love To Murder Mystery Conference in Chicago pushes Julie McGuire to make a latent dream become a reality. A lawyer in a growing practice with old friend, Dade Donovan, she longs to become a writer. She is also enthralled by the enigmatic mystery author, Tyler Jensen, the conference keynote speaker.


He seems just as enthralled with her and begins to pursue her in a variety of ways. As she looks to gracefully end her career in the law and her partnership with Dade, it becomes clear that Dade isn’t totally supportive of her future plans. Getting strange vibes from both men, Julie isn’t sure what is going on or who is behind a series of increasingly strange and dangerous events.


Despite an interesting if a bit clichéd premise (the famous mystery writer loses himself during the writing process in dreams of murder that may or not be real) the novel doesn’t reach its full potential. This is primarily because the pacing off the novel is consistently off. Scenes that should move faster drag on far longer than they should. Opportunities to slow down events to further develop characters are frequently rushed. That fact, along with heavy foreshadowing with certain plot points hit so often seasoned mystery readers laugh out loud, do not invoke the rising tension the author is trying desperately to create.


Unlike many who choose to self publish, author Morgan Mandell did obtain editing services and credits those individuals in her dedication.  It is telling that the editing situation also led to some of the back of the cover blurbs and the occasional review from the same individuals. With such a small core group involved, it isn’t surprising that some issues were not dealt with as effectively as they could have been with more outside objective input. While the novel is classified as “romantic suspense” the suspense angle is very much lacking for seasoned mystery readers. The romance is the classic triangle where both the possible bad boy and the obvious good guy both seek the attentions of the fair damsel who may be in distress from outside forces or forces from within the triangle relationship.


At the same time, at the core, there is a very good tale here. Plenty of action, intrigue and mystery, romantic elements and a heroine that readers can identify with and care about. Through the execution of the story is flawed at times for seasoned mystery readers, there are enough good things about the novel to make the overall read worth it.


Killer Career

Morgan Mandel

Choice One Publishing Co.


ISBN# 978-0-9819916-0-3

298 Pages

Large Trade Paperback


Material provided by the author in exchange for my objective review.


Kevin R. Tipple © 2009

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